Qualifier Caldwell nets D.C. upset Attitude change pays with win over Carlsen

July 21, 1998|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- It was the third set, crunch time, and David Caldwell was holding his own yesterday against the No. 13 seed in the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Ken Carlsen.

Normally, this is when a seasoned veteran such as Carlsen, a Dane who has been ranked in the top 80 for the last few years, applies the pressure and pulls away.

Caldwell, who had to win a couple of matches over the weekend to make the main draw, had the added pressure of serving to stay in the match at 4-5.

No problem. Immediately, the three-time ACC champion (1994-96) from the University of North Carolina started cracking winners all over the place -- hitting the lines and smacking unreturnable serves.

He ran off the last 10 points of the match, dispatching Carlsen, a semifinalist here two years ago, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, and settled back to celebrate his first victory on the ATP Tour after five losses.

The 24-year-old native of Richmond, Va., said, "I didn't settle down until I was serving at 4-5."

Weird because that's when the nerves become frayed, the arms and legs grow weak, the throat parched.

"The way I was going in the third set, I knew I'd lose if I continued being tentative. I told myself, 'Go for your shots, hit out, see what happens.' It worked.

"After a victory like this, you hope it goes from here. But I know it's going to take a lot more work."

Actually, it was the hard work Caldwell has put in surviving qualifiers and competing in Challenger Tour matches hither and yon that paid off yesterday.

"My legs were getting heavy, but I noticed after a while I was winning a majority of the long points," he said. "This gave me the patience to let the points play out and make him beat me.

"I won't forget this in a hurry," Caldwell continued. "I remember coming up to this tournament for years in the summer. I saw Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, all those guys. I was probably more interested in running around and getting autographs, though. I got John McEnroe's autograph once. I think I may still have it."

The nice thing about knocking off a seeded player is inheriting his draw, which means Caldwell won't face a seeded player again for a while. Of course, being a qualifier means every opponent is a heavy favorite.

However, the chances are no one will underestimate David Caldwell anytime soon.

In the "name" match of the first day, Paul Goldstein of Rockville and Stanford University, making his pro debut after a brilliant career as a collegian, was beaten by longtime Southern California foe Sargis Sargsian, 3-6, 6-4, 7- 5.

"He played the important points more solidly than I did. It was as simple as that," said Goldstein. "You could tell he's more experienced."

"Funny how things work out. We've played against each other a hundred times, in college and elsewhere, and we practiced together the last week. Then we end up playing in the first round."

Results

First round: Sargis Sargsian def. Paul Goldstein, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Danny Vacek def. Daniel Nestor, 6-4, 6-4; David Nainkin def. Sandon Stolle, 6-2, 7-6 (4); David Caldwell def. Ken Carlsen, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Martin Damm def. Guillermo Canas, 6-4, 7-6 (5); Andre Sa def. Thomas Ketola, 7-6 (4), 6-4; Marcus Ondruska def. Eyal Ran, 6-4, 6-0; Gianluca Pozzi def. Oscar Burrieza, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0; Rainer Schuttler def. Jan-Michael Gambill (12), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Justin Gimelstob def. Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Maurice Ruah def. Paul Harsanyi, 6-0, 6-7 (6-2), 6-2; David Wheaton def. Peter Tramacchi, 6-3, 6-3.

Today's matches: Stadium Court: 4 p.m., Jeff Tarango vs. Johan Van Herck; not before 5: 50 p.m., Jimmy Arias vs. Wade McGuire; not before 7 p.m., Andre Agassi vs. David Wheaton; followed by doubles. Grandstand: 4 p.m., Scott Humpfreys vs. Sebastien Lareau; not before 5: 30 p.m., Mike Sell vs. Bob Bryan; followed by two doubles matches. Court 1: 4 p.m., Grant Stafford vs. Michael Tebbutt; followed by Ramon Delgado vs. Steve Campbell; followed by Andrew Ilie vs. Ivo Heuberger; followed by doubles. Court 2: 4 p.m., Lars Burgsmuller vs. Crisbano Caratti; followed by Alejandro Hernandez vs. Scott Draper; followed by John Van Lottum vs. Wayne Black; followed by doubles.

Court 3: 4 p.m., Christophe Van Garsse vs. Mauricio Hadad; followed by Oren Michevassel vs. Diego Nargiso; followed by doubles.

Pub Date: 7/21/98

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