WASHINGTON -- Brad Gilbert chose to play doubles after a 20-month layoff, but his decision to do so may have cost him a trip to the Sovran Bank Classic semifinals.
Playing a little more than 14 hours after losing a second-round doubles match Thursday night, third-seeded Gilbert was upset yesterday by No. 12 seed Petr Korda in two tie-breakers, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), in a quarterfinal at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
Korda's win ensured an international flavor in today's semifinals. The 23-year-old Czechoslovakian will face Markus Zoecke of Germany in a semifinal this afternoon, and top seed Andre Agassi of Las Vegas will play No. 6 seed Jaime Yzaga of Peru tonight.
Gilbert was a semifinalist here last year -- when he lost to Jim Grabb -- and because the tournament is one he always had played well in (he's been to two finals), he was looking forward to a respectable showing.
But Thursday night, Gilbert found himself playing close to midnight on the grandstand court, where he and MaliVai Washington were losing in three sets in a second-round doubles match. Drained by that loss -- and a third-round singles win earlier that day -- Gilbert was back on the court at 2:30 p.m. yesterday playing in temperatures that reached 104 degrees at courtside.
"We played late, and it wasn't until 3:30 [a.m.] that I went to sleep," Gilbert said. "And I'm from the San Francisco area, and we've never had a [hot] day like this. It takes a lot out of you. With my kind of game, it takes a lot of work."
Gilbert and Korda played even during the first set, with each breaking the other's service once. But on the second point in the tie-breaker, Gilbert smacked the ball in disgust and exploded with screams of "No, no," after a ball hit by Korda that appeared to be out was allowed. Gilbert lost the point to fall behind, 2-0, and eventually lost the tie-breaker.
By the second tie-breaker Gilbert was tossing his racket in disgust and glaring at the officials over what he -- and the fans -- thought were other missed calls.
"I wasn't too happy about it," Gilbert said of the officials. "All week the calls weren't going my way. Plus it was hot out there, and I was tired."
While Gilbert was fading, Korda was getting inspiration from a trio of bare-chested countrymen who clapped and shouted encouragement the entire match.
"They helped me a couple of times, and it's nice to have support from Czechoslovakia," said Korda, who delivered some hearty high fives to the group after the match.
Korda said he knew Gilbert would be affected from the previous night, and wanted to get off early against a man he had beaten in three sets in the Davis Cup last year.
"I knew he would be tired because he played two matches [Thursday]," Korda said. "I was saving some energy for important shots like I had in the tie-breaker."
In a mild upset earlier, Yzaga, the No. 6 seed, advanced to play Agassi by beating No. 4 seed Richey Reneberg, 6-3, 6-4.
Both Yzaga and Agassi have breezed through the tournament without dropping a set. Even though the 23-year-old Peruvian has failed to beat Agassi in five previous meetings, he's notched quality wins this year against the likes of Michael Chang, Anders Jarryd and Mats Wilander.
Zoecke, who will be playing his first singles semifinal, advanced with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Luis Herrera. It came one day after Herrera scored the upset of the tournament with Thursday's win over No. 2 seed John McEnroe.
In the final singles match, it took Agassi 71 minutes to defeat unseeded Johan Carlsson of Sweden, 7-5, 6-2. Carlsson was leading the first set, 5-4, and serving at set point. But Agassi won the next three points to win the game, and had no further scare the rest of the match.
0 Men's singles, quarterfinals Andre Agassi (1), Las Vegas, def. Johan Carlsson, Sweden, 7-5, Jaime Yzaga (6), Peru, def. Richey Reneberg (4), Palm Desert, Calif., 6-3, 6-4; Petr Korda (12), Czechoslovakia, def. Brad Gilbert (3), San Rafael, Calif., 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4); Markus Zoecke, Germany, def. Luis Herrera, Mexico, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.