There are two blokes I am not especially impressed with at the moment. One is Ernests Gulbis. The other Nicolas Almagro.
One had a win yesterday, one a loss. One was seeded, one is not. But both have oodles of potential, and both are not using it.
Let's start with Gulbis. I've flogged this horse to death - we all know how good I think he has the potential to be. But what have we seen over the past few tournaments? A big fat nothing. Nada. Niente. And here we've had it again, with him going down in three sets to Potito Starace. He did win the first set... but ugh, Ernests, would it have killed you to win one of the other two as well?
I was talking about the pressure put on Rafa and Roger yesterday - I think pressure is something that factors into the Gulbis equation as well. I'm not the only one who thinks he is a fiery ball of potential. And that has to be a whole lot of pressure. Maybe that's making him nervous - he's supposed to be performing, and it hasn't quite happened yet, and that just intensifies with time. But... argh, Ernests, I know you can do it! Just go out and do it! Seriously, I'll settle with one match win at this stage.
And then Nicolas Almagro... Nicolas, Nicolas, Nicolas. He has consistently proved that when he comes to clay, he is a massive force to be reckoned with it - he is the Prince of Clay. But what's happening? He took a meek loss in Monte Carlo and then he almost took another meek one today in Barcelona before Victor Hanescu retired with cramps. He is capable of so much more.
I guess that's what it comes down to - people not doing as well as they should. But such is the nature of humanity, I suppose...
...wow, that's philosophical.
Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell (Barcelona)
Nicolas Almagro def. Victor Hanescu, 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 2-2 retired
Igor Andreev def. Andreas Seppi, 6-3 3-6 7-5
Tomas Berdych def. Martin Vassallo Arguello, 5-2 retired
Christophe Rochus def. Nicolas Devilder, 6-4 6-4
Janko Tipsarevic def. Albert Montanes, 6-4 7-6 (7-1)
Jose Acasuso def. Dudi Sela, 6-4 7-5
Alberto Martin def. Marc Gicquel, 6-3 6-4
Santiago Ventura def. Marcel Granollers, 7-6 (7-3) 6-3
Potito Starace def. Ernests Gulbis, 4-6 6-3 6-3
Juan Ignacio Chela def. Thomaz Bellucci, 6-2 3-6 6-4
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Pere Riba-Madrid, 6-2 7-6 (7-5)
Igor Kunitsyn def. Juan Carlos Ferrero, 7-5 7-6 (7-3)
Frederico Gil def. Yen-Hsun Lu, 6-2 6-1