LONDON (AP) – Ernests Gulbis is a former top-10 player and Grand Slam semifinalist. A series of injuries pushed him down the rankings and kept him off the ATP Tour for long stretches, instead relegated to lower-tier Challenger tournaments.
The 29-year-old Gulbis is ranked only 138th and had to go through qualifying rounds to make it into Wimbledon’s main draw. He’d never attempted that before and is now the first male qualifier to get to the fourth round in six years.
Look at him now. Healthy and playing well, he’s made it all the way to Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time in 11 appearances at the All England Club after upsetting fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev 7-6 (2), 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 on Saturday.
“I’m glad that I went through it,” Gulbis said. “It makes me stronger mentally.”
The victory over Zverev was his sixth in a row over the past two weeks.
“It’s great to see him doing this well, because I think he is such a talented player and he can play on a very high level,” Ostapenko said about Gulbis. “I hope he’s going to go even further in the tournament.”
It also allowed Gulbis to join 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who reached the women’s fourth round with a victory earlier Saturday, to give Latvia two players in the round of 16 at a major tournament for the first time.
Today, Gulbis will face 24th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, who was the runner-up at the 2014 US Open.
But then came one injury after another and a slide to 589th a year ago because of a lack of matches.
The best Grand Slam showing for Gulbis was a run to the semifinals at the 2014 French Open, which included a win against Roger Federer. That was the year he reached his career-best ranking of No 10.