Ernests Gulbis is going to the French Open semifinals to play No.2 in the world Novak Djokovic after ousting legend Roger Federer in the fourth round Sunday in Paris and then Czech tennis star Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinal round. He shut out Burdych on Day 10 with a 6-3,6-2, 5-4 win.
Gulbis’ win over Federer put him in the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for just the second time in history and the first time since 2008. This will be his first semifinal round ever in a Grand Slam event.
Federer had been in the quarterfinals in Paris for nine straight years while this was Berdych’s 6th quarterfinal at Roland Garros.
Here’s what you need to know about Gulbis:
1. He Said He Doesn’t Want His Tennis-Playing Sisters to go Pro Because They’re Women
Before knocking off Federer, Gulbis was in the headlines for an entirely different reason. He came under a barrage of criticism after saying he doesn’t want his two tennis-playing sisters to play professionally because women need to “enjoy life” and focus on their families rather than making a living playing sports.
Here’s what Gulbis had to say about women in sports, according to the Daily Mail:
I wouldn’t like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It’s a tough choice of life. A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids.
2. His Father & Grandfather Were Basketball Players
Gulbis was born in Riga, the capital and largest city of Latvia. He now lives in the Latvian city of Jurmala.
According to his ATP bio, Gulbis gets some of his athletic ability from his father, who was a businessman and investor.
Gulbis’ grandfather also played hoops and was a starter on the Soviet national team, according to Gulbis’ bio.
3. He’s Had a Lot of Success on Clay
Gulbis has had more success on clay than any other surface. His only two Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances have come on the clay at the French Open, and his first career victory came at the U.S. Clay Court Championships.
He’s pictured above celebrating his fourth-round victory at Roland Garros in 2008.
4. He’s Had an Up & Down Career
Gulbis’ career got off to a hot start when he reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open and the French Open quarters as a 19-year-old.
He went four years without making it out of the second round at a Grand Slam tournament — a drought he broke when he reached the third round at Wimbledon last year.
Gulbis’ ranking slipped out of the top 100 during the drought, but has climbed all the way up to Number 17 — the highest ranking of his career.
5. He’s Won 6 Tournaments
Gulbis has a 189-154 career record and has won six tournaments. His most recent win came earlier this month at the ATP Nice Open, a clay-court French Open warmup.