Delray Beach Day 3: Querrey vs. Gulbis, Haas vs. Istomin

Ernests Gulbis will look for his second consecutive American scalp when he goes up against Sam Querrey on Wednesday in Delray Beach. Tommy Haas and Denis Istomin are also looking for spots in the quarterfinals.

(Q) Ernests Gulbis vs. (3) Sam Querrey

Gulbis and Querrey will be doing battle for the fourth time in their careers when they meet in the second round of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Wednesday night. Querrey leads the head-to-head series 2-1 after winning two in a row–both on hard courts. Following a Gulbis triumph at the 2009 French Open, Querrey prevailed 6-3, 6-4 one season later in Memphis and by the exact same score just over a year ago in Valencia.

Mired in a slump that has spanned many years, Gulbis is talking like he is ready to pick up steam–and he is starting to back it up. The 109th-ranked Latvian qualified for Rotterdam and Delray Beach and also played well in Marseille in between. He is 4-2 at the ATP level in 2013 after hammering James Blake 6-1, 6-4 in round one. Querrey, a solid 10-4 for the season, got a retirement from Michael Russell on Monday. In what is likely to be a competitive affair, the 6’6” American should have an edge because of consistency. The relatively fast conditions are also more conducive to Querrey’s game even though they suit both players.

Pick: Querrey in 3

Denis Istomin vs. (2) Tommy Haas

Istomin and Haas will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers on Wednesday in Delray Beach. Their only previous encounter came two years ago on the hard courts of San Jose, where Istomin scored a 7-6(3), 6-2 win. They were supposed to face each other in the Brisbane second round last month, but Haas withdrew prior to the start.

That sent Istomin through to the quarterfinals and he is already looking for his fifth such result of 2013. The 42nd-ranked Uzbek parlayed his most recent quarterfinal into a semi last week in Memphis. He is a stellar 12-5 for his 2013 campaign after surviving Benjamin Becker 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday. Haas, who suffered from a virus in Memphis, got a retirement from Igor Sijsling after splitting sets in the Delray Beach first round. The 34-year-old German is a decent 6-3 for the season. This could obviously go either way, but Istomin seems to be on course for an upset since he is in complete control of his game and brimming with confidence.

Pick: Istomin in 3

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