Seeds get uprooted at Legg Mason

Four seeded players upset in tournament's 2nd round

Tennis

August 15, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Yesterday was moving day at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Four seeded players shipped out after falling in second-round play at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park.

Among those departing was No. 9 seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, who was upended by Guillermo Coria of Argentina, 6-4, 7-6 (3); No. 10 Todd Martin, who dropped a 6-4, 7-6 (5) decision to Alex Kim, formerly of Potomac; No. 12 Fernando Vicente of Spain, who was routed, 6-2, 6-1, by Lars Burgsmuller of Germany; and No. 15 Jan Vacek of the Czech Republic, who was bounced, 6-3, 6-4, by Brian Vahaly.

Also, fan favorite Michael Chang was ousted, 7-5, 6-4, by Jerome Golmard of France.

The biggest upset belonged to Kim, who graduated from Winston Churchill High before becoming an NCAA champion at Stanford.

"Having a crowd on your side is always a plus," said Kim, who saluted the fans with a thumbs-up gesture. "It's nice to stay at home after traveling and staying at hotels."

Kim, who is ranked 112th in the world, broke Martin late in the first set to take a 5-4 lead. Serving for the set, Kim fought off six break points before prevailing.

The second set went into a tiebreaker, where Martin double-faulted to give Kim a 5-4 lead. On Kim's next serve, Martin charged the net only to watch Kim hit a perfect forehand lob that curled over Martin's head and inside the baseline.

"I couldn't believe it dropped because the wind was going with me," said Kim, who won one of the last two points to close out the match. "I guess I had enough spin on it."

The loss was a signal to Martin, widely viewed as a mentor by young American players like Kim and Paul Goldstein, that he's not the player he was when he turned pro in 1990.

"Nowadays, I can play somebody who is 500th in the world and he can give me a run," said Martin, who is ranked 47th. "The level of play around me is a lot better than it used to be. My improvement over the past couple of years has slowed down a bit."

Kim's road doesn't get easier. He will face No. 8 seed Jarkko Nieminen of Finland today at a time to be determined.

Vahaly may have been the most surprising presence in the third round. Vahaly, who was 2-3 on the International level, is a three-time winner on the Challenge series, which serves as an informal minor-league system.

Vahaly, who played tennis for Virginia, said his game plan of hitting off-speed stuff seemed to confuse Vacek.

"I needed to make sure I stuck to my plan of mixing it up and showing a little variety," said Vahaly, who will meet top-seeded Andre Agassi at about 7 tonight. "I'm going to try not to get overwhelmed and see where I stack up."

Golmard was 16 when an unknown, 17-year-old Chang won his only Grand Slam championship at the 1989 French Open.

Times have changed, as Golmard, ranked 91st in the world, is now the one who is ranked higher than Chang, who is ranked 98th.

Golmard, who has been hampered by shoulder and elbow injuries, was playing in only his second tournament since February, but Chang won only 10 points on Golmard's serves.

"He was so relaxed that he just started to swing away and go for shots," Chang said. "Everything was falling for him."

Several seeds played up to expectations, including No. 2 seed and defending Legg Mason champion Andy Roddick, who dispatched Justin Gimelstob, of Miami, 6-2, 6-2.

Results

Second round

Jerome Golmard def. Michael Chang, 7-5, 6-4.

Brian Vahaly def. Jan Vacek (15), 6-3, 6-4.

Jarkko Nieminen (8) def. Frank Dancevic, 7-5, 6-0.

Karol Kucera def. Raemon Slutier, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Alex Kim def. Todd Martin (10), 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Marcelo Rios (5) def. Bob Bryan, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-2.

Fernando Meligeni (16) def. Attila Savolt, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Lars Burgsmuller def. Fernando Vicente (12), 6-2, 6-1.

Andy Roddick (2) def. Justin Gimelstob, 6-2, 6-2.

Thomas Enqvist (7) def. Michael Russell, 7-6 (13), 6-0.

Guillermo Coria def. Fernando Gonzalez (9), 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Paradorn Srichaphan (14) def. Kevin Kim, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

James Blake (6) def. Oleg Ogorodov, 6-4, 6-1.

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