Chang outlasts storm, Damm Defending champion moves to quarterfinals of Legg Mason, 6-4, 6-1

July 24, 1998|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Another thunderstorm rolled through the William H. G. FitzGerald Tennis Center, disrupting the Legg Mason Tennis Classic for the second time in three days last night, but this time play was able to resume and two-time defending champion Michael Chang advanced to the quarterfinals with an easy victory.

The rain delay of 1 hour and 30 minutes was actually longer than Chang's third-round match. The No. 1 seed needed just an hour and eight minutes to dispatch Martin Damm, 6-4, 6-1.

"I was distracted by the storm in the first set," Chang said. "I kind of looked at Norm [umpire Norm Chryst] when I saw the flash of lightning and shrugged, 'It's your call.' I didn't know if he saw the lightning. But he said there were guys upstairs who were closer to it and they'd let him know."

As the storm was rolling in, Chang double-faulted at 15-15 while serving for the set and went on to lose his serve.

"The storm took my mind off the situation," Chang said. "You look up and see the flicker of lightning and you're holding a graphite racket and the stands are high. You have to take the necessary precautions. As it was, I think the storm was closer than they thought, because it started to pour about three minutes after they suspended play."

The temperature dropped nearly 30 degrees after the rain came through.

Keeping pace with the top seed earlier in the day was No. 3 Wayne Ferreira, who defeated qualifier David Caldwell, 7-5, 6-3.

"I really feel I can win this tournament," Ferreira said. "Michael has had a lot of problems this year and he hasn't been at his best. Andre [Agassi] is playing well, but not as well as he has in the past. They are the favorites, but they are not the sure favorites."

Last night, No. 7 seed Jim Courier played Justin Gimelstob, a Davis Cup alternate. Though they had practiced together last weekend, this was the first time they'd faced each other in a match. Courier prevailed, 6-3, 6-4.

Chang will meet Courier in the quarterfinals, in a rematch of the Orlando finals last April, in which Courier won in three sets.

"Now it's Michael," Courier said. "No real surprise. The Orlando match was very, very difficult for both of us. I haven't seen him play much here this week, so I don't know if he's playing better than he was there. Hopefully, we'll both be playing well."

No. 2 Agassi defeated Christophe Van Garsse in the nightcap, 6-3, 6-4.

Others who advanced to the quarterfinals and have their eyes on the championship trophy are No 5 Filip Dewulf, who beat Gianluca Pozzi, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; No. 6 Vince Spadea, who survived his encounter with Diego Nargiso, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; and No. 14 Scott Draper, who surprised No. 4 seed Byron Black, 6-2, 6-4.

Sebastien Lareau, who beat qualified Maurice Ruah, 6-4, 6-3, is the only unseeded player in the final eight.

Chang, who had given back an early break just moments before play was suspended at 6: 25 p.m., was in fine form when it resumed at 7: 55. He quickly broke Damm again to take the first set, 6-4.

"Martin didn't seem like he was ready from the first point. I had him on the run and I had him down early in the second set."

Chang rolled through the second set in a cool 30 minutes.

For Chang, who has reached this deep into a tournament only four other times this season, it was a nice way to spend the evening. He has spent the entire spring recovering from a knee injury he suffered in March and has yet to win a tournament this season.

Ranked No. 19, his lowest ATP Tour Ranking since Oct. 28, 1991, when he was No. 21, Chang is hoping Washington will be the cure-all he has been looking for.

Last night's victory was his 14th straight here and if he col- lects the title for the third straight time it will be his first since winning this tournament a year ago.

Chang said he goes to different tournaments for different reasons. He goes to some for the weather, some for the event, others for the people and still others because there is good fishing nearby.

"It varies," he said. "I come to D.C. because I feel very comfortable with the setting and the courts."

And, too, because he likes winning.

Singles, third round

Wayne Ferreira (3) def. David Caldwell, 7-5, 6-3. Filip Dewulf (5) def. Gianluca Pozzi (11), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. Scott Draper (14) def. Byron Black (4), 6-2, 6-4. Michael Chang (1) def. Martin Damm (15), 6-4, 6-1. Vincent Spadea (6) def. Diego Nargiso, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. Sebastien Lareau def. Maurice Ruah, 6-4, 6-3. Jim Courier (7) def. Justin Gimelstob, 6-3, 6-4. Andre Agassi (2) def. Christophe Van Grasse, 6-3, 6-4.

Doubles, first round

Eyal Ran and Filippo Veglio def. Scott Draper and Lleyton Hewitt, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-5. David DiLucia and Michael Sell def. Goichi Motomura and Takao Suzuki, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.

Second round

Doug Flach and Greg Van Emburgh def. Michael Tebbutt and Peter Tramacchi, 6-4, 6-2. Grant Stafford and Kevin Ullyett (5) def. Paul Goldstein and Scott Humphries, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). David Macpherson and David Wheaton, def. Tuomas Ketola and David Nainkin, 7-5, 6-4. Wayne Ferreira and Patrick Galbraith (1) def. Oscar Burrieza and Mitsuru Takada, 6-0, 6-3.

Today on Stadium Court

Not before 1 p.m.

Scott Draper vs. Filip Dewulf, followed by Vince Spadea vs. Wayne Ferriera

7 p.m.

Sebastien Lareau vs. Andre Agassi, followed by Michael Chang vs. Jim Courier

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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