Simple question from an intrepid reader: "Who is Gisela Dulko and why have I never heard of her before? And by heard of, I mean seen — she just beat Sharapova in an almost happy tissue inducing match." I-Team, unite!
First, we'll start by answering reader Bill's question with another question: Where do you go when you want to do a cursory search of someone else's biography? Wikipedia, of course. And the first line of Dulkos' entry in itself is a gold mine. It's where we unearth Dulko's nickname: The Incredible Dulk. Couldn't have done it better myself.
We also learn that Dulko prefers doubles — she won three of the Grand Slams as a junior — and while she has struggled in professional singles, her three-set win over Sharapova in the second round at Wimbledon could be her coming out party.
Like Sharapova, The Incredible Dulk is the subject of gossip fodder — especially in Australia, even though she's from Argentina. The two press clips worth reading about the reason you won't see Maria Sharapova in all whites for another year:
Sunday Age, Melbourne, Australia
Whatever damage Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Ignacio Chela did to Australian- Argentine relations, the splendiferously lithe Gisela Dulko repaired with one smile at the Hopman Cup. Even the Fanatics were prepared to forgive and forget as Dulko laughed her way through the mixed doubles with Chela, and the crowd clapped heartily. Her boyfriend is Chilean Fernando Gonzalez - last year's popular Australian Open runner-up. The couple are popular in South America, too - at Christmas, Gonzalez and Dulka visited "Las Rosas", a community of 2500 elderly people in Santiago. "The elder people congratulated Fernando for the girlfriend he has," explains a Gonzalez fan website. "They gave him presents, poems and songs to congratulate him."
The Age, Melbourne, Australia
Dulko's appeal is raw; her name is the focus of more internet searches than her ranking of 51 might deserve, some finishing with links to her boyfriend, men's world No.15 Fernando Gonzalez, others to generic websites showing "pictures of the sexy women of sports".
Next up for Dulko in the ladies' draw is Nadia Petrova.
UPDATE: Turns out, the photo we originally used isn't Dulko. The new one is.