Meligeni upends '01 champ Roddick

Down 3-1, Brazilian gains Legg Mason quarterfinal

Tennis

August 16, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - There will be a new champion at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Fernando Meligeni of Brazil cemented that reality last night when he upended defending titlist Andy Roddick, 6-4, 6-4, in a third-round match at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.

Roddick, who returned as the No. 2 seed and is ranked ninth in the world, hadn't lost a set and dropped only four games in his only match of the tournament, a 6-2, 6-2 whipping of Justin Gimelstob.

Roddick even owned a 3-1 lead in the first set, but No. 16 seed Meligeni used deep ground strokes and sharp first serves to take the set.

In second set, Meligeni fought off five break points in the ninth game, and when Roddick double-faulted on match point, Meligeni earned a quarterfinal spot against No. 5 seed Marcelo Rios of Chile.

"I was fighting it," Roddick said. "I wasn't seeing the ball well tonight. I wasn't seeing the serves or anything from the baseline."

Roddick's opponent in last year's final, Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands, was also shown the door. No. 14 seed Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand bounced the third-seeded Schalken, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Schalken took the first set when Srichaphan double-faulted in the seventh game, and Schalken held his serve the rest of the way.

Srichaphan returned the favor in the second set by breaking Schalken twice. The last break came in the eighth and final game when Schalken's backhand sailed wide right.

In the final set, Srichaphan owned a 3-0 lead, but Schalken won four of the next five games to tie it at 4.

Srichaphan fought off a break point to hold his serve and take a 5-4 lead. He then converted his first match point when Schalken's forehand went long.

Srichaphan said the key was attacking Schalken's backhand.

"I know that he can't hit it the whole day with no mistakes," said Srichaphan. "I tried to move him all around. ... It worked today."

At least the tournament didn't lose its No. 1 seed. Andre Agassi defeated wild-card entry Brian Vahaly, 6-1, 7-6 (3), but Vahaly put up a severe challenge in the second set.

"I thought he played very aggressively," Agassi said. "He took his chances. ... It was a good opportunity for me. He challenged me and pushed me to a higher level."

American James Blake, the No. 6 seed, also advanced to the quarterfinals after edging Guillermo Coria of Argentina, 6-4, 7-5.

Blake, who was leading 5-2 in the second set, watched Coria tie the score at 5 before holding his serve and breaking Coria's to finish the match.

"I think I got a little ahead of myself," said Blake, who saved 13 of 16 break-point chances against Coria. "I think my head was in the locker room at 5-2. ... But I fought back really well. I didn't want to go to three sets."

Blake will meet Spain's Alex Corretja, the 2000 Legg Mason champion who needed only an hour to dispose of Slovakia's Karol Kucera, 6-1, 6-1. Corretja, the No. 4 seed, broke Kucera five times, and Kucera won just 11 points on Corretja's serves.

Jerome Golmard had pledged to dye his red Mohawk to blue if he reached the semifinals. He will have to be satisfied with red as Rios drubbed the French native, 6-3, 6-1.

Results, schedule

Third-round singles

Andre Agassi (1) vs. Brian Vahaly, 6-1, 7-6 (3); Fernando Meligeni (16) def. Andy Roddick (2), 6-4, 6-4; Alex Corretja (4) def. Karol Kucera, 6-1, 6-1; Marcelo Rios (5) def. Jerome Golmard, 6-3, 6-1; James Blake (6) def. Guillermo Coria, 6-4, 7-5; Paradorn Srichaphan (14) def. Sjeng Schalken (3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; Jarkko Nieminen (8) def. Alex Kim, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3; Thomas Enqvist (7) def. Lars Burgsmuller, 6-3, 7-5.

Second-round doubles

Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (3) def. Dominik Hrbaty/Richard Krajicek, 6-2, 6-4; Martin Damm/Cyril Suk (4) def. Chris Haggard/Peter Nyborg, 6-3, 7-6 (3); David Adams/Sjeng Schalken (5) def. Jeff Coetzee/Nathan Healey, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2; Justin Gimelstob/Michael Hill (8) def. Fernando Gonzalez/Marcelo Rios, forfeit; Jan-Michael Gambill/Graydon Oliver def. Marius Barnard/Jim Thomas, 6-3, 7-6 (3); Lucas Arnold/Alex Corretja (7) def. Aleksander Kitinov/Alexandre Simoni, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-1.

Today's quarterfinals

Paradorn Srichaphan (14) vs. Jarkko Nieminen (8), 1 p.m.; Marcelo Rios (5) vs. Fernando Meligeni (16), not before 3 p.m.; Alex Corretja (4) vs. James Blake (6), not before 5 p.m.; Andre Agassi (1) vs. Thomas Enqvist (7), not before 7.

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