Los Angeles. Ernests Gulbis  is perhaps the most tricky player on the tour for the best guys. The emotionally changeable Latvian, is able to lose back-to-back matches and suddenly beats the top guys or gives them run for their money. Prior to L.A. Gulbis had lost five consecutive matches and was two points away from losing the first round match to Xavier Malisse, at *4:5 (30 all) in the 3rd set, passed the Belgian from a quite difficult position. Later on, he was a superior player over the next four opponents, including two much higher ranked pals; obtained his 4th title in 4 finals counting both, singles (Delray Beach, Los Angeles) and doubles (Houston, Indianapolis) – all in the United States. It’s Gulbis’s third tournament with Guillermo Canas as a coach, who became the fourth former player to work with Gulbis this year (!) # The two-time defending champion Sam Querrey, had to pull out due to physical problems. The American has been injured since Queens Club and expects to come back at the Winston-Salem Open.
After reaching the Australian Open quarterfinal in an impressive style, seemed that the first title for Alexandr Dolgopolov  would be a matter of a couple following weeks. Although the gifted Ukrainian needed another six months to put his name onto the long list of the ATP title winners (just like Roger Federer & Juan Martin del Potro, “Dog” did it in his 45th main-level event) ##. He came to Umag with a 4-match losing streak, in the final against Marin Cilic faced a scare in the deciding set, when the local favorite (his first appearance there since 2007), cut the lead from *0:3 (15-40) to 3:3 (30 all) – Dolgopolov fired an ace then, and it was a crucial moment for the final outcome.
In some sense Marcel Granollers , like two years younger Gulbis and Dolgopolov, won his second ATP title out of nowhere. The 25-year-old Spaniard had very average results this year, on clay had just won 6 matches (out of 14). En route to the title in Gstaad he beat three Top 20 players in a row. “Last week was bad for me because I felt a lot of pain in my arm, which I had felt since Wimbledon,” revealed Granollers. “I went home and rested for five days without any practice, and I came here on Sunday and started to feel better and better. Now I have won the tournament and so it’s amazing“.
Los Angeles (250)
S: Ernests Gulbis d. (1)Mardy Fish 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
D: (3)M.Knowles/X.Malisse d. S.Devvarman/T.Huey 7-6(2), 7-6(10)
S: (2)Alexandr Dolgopolov d. (4)Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
D: S.Bolelli/F.Fognini d. M.Cilic/L.Zovko 6-3, 5-7, [10-7]
S: (8)Marcel Granollers d. (4)Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
D: (1)F.Cermak/F.Polasek d. (2)C.Kas/A.Peya 6-3, 7-6(7)
Choker of the week:
Juan Ignacio Chela – the top seeded Argentinian (in Umag) led 3:0 with two breaks in the 3rd set against Potito Starace, later on 5:3 and held a match point on serve at 5:4. Starace won that second round match 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
# Gulbis’s four coaches in 2011:
Hernan Gumy (September 2009-March 2011) Darren Cahill (two events in March) Sargis Sargsian (March-June) Guillermo Canas (since June)
## The list of “first time title winners” in 2011:
8 – Milos Raonic (San Jose)
13 – Ivan Dodig (Zagreb)
32 – Ryan Sweeting (Houston)
38 – Kevin Anderson (Johannesburg)
38 – Pablo Andujar (Casablanca)
45 – Alexandr Dolgopolov (Umag)
175 – Andreas Seppi (Eastbourne)