Ernests Gulbis, Federico Delbonis to clash for Nice title

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Nice, France (4E Sports) – Second seed Ernests Gulbis won 26 of 27 first-serve points as he dethroned defending champion Albert Montanes, 6-0, 6-3, Friday for a place in the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur final.

Gulbis, who has a perfect 5-0 record in title matches, needed just 71 minutes to advance to the finals, where he will face seventh seed Federico Delbonis, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over fourth seed Gilles Simon.

Meanwhile, Ivo Karlovic will try to win his sixth ATP World Tour title in Saturday’s final against top seed Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dusseldorf Open.

Karlovic hit 16 aces to beat Jiri Vesely, 7-6(6), 7-6(7), in one hour and 56 minutes while Kohlschreiber wrapped up a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 win over Mate Delic and edged Denis Istomin, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes to reach the final.

The win was Kohlschreiber’s first over Istomin in their fourth head-to-head showdown.

On the women’s side, Monica Puig and Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa will clash for the Strasbourg International title after beating their respective semifinal opponents.

Puig downed Madison Keys, 7-5, 6-3, while Soler-Espinosa outlasted Christina McHale, 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3.

Puig, 20, and Soler-Espinosa, 26, will appear in their first-ever WTA finals Saturday. Puig beat Soler-Espinosa in a second-round match at Wimbledon last year.

In Nuremberg, Germany, second seed Eugenie Bouchard defeated Karin Knapp, 6-4, 6-3, to reach the final of the Nurnberger Cup.

For the title, Bouchard will take on Karolina Pliskova, who upset fourth seed Elina Svitolina, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The 20-year-old Australian Open semifinalist Bouchard will appear in her second career final while Pliskova is now a three-time WTA finalist.

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