I feel like ever since Ernie won Delray Beach I've been going, 'okay, I don't want to say this is it, but he's close, he's closer, he's getting better, he's almost there.'
Well, guess what, amigos? I'm finally ready to make that sweeping claim.
Roll out the welcome mat. Here comes Ernie.
I said a couple of weeks ago that I didn't think anyone would take a set off Rafa this clay season - at least not until Roland Garros. Well, guess who proved me wrong? That would be one E Gulbis, who played an absolutely spectacular match to take Nadal to three today. The final breakdown was 103 points to Rafa, 101 to Ernie. That is the difference of a hair. Like, literally, a hair. And against just about any other player, what Ernie did today would have catapulted him into that final.
Although he lost today, this has got to go down as the biggest tournament of his career. To beat Federer and go pretty damn close with the Claycourt Freight Train... that is something else. Though I was obviously pulling for Federer, I'm very happy with the way Ernie has progressed in this tournament.
Roland Garros awaits. The future beckons. And Ernie - at last, at long last - is striding down the red carpet to meet it.
3 months ago