Goldstein bounced out at Legg Mason

Rockville native falters against Srichaphan

Blake survives Stepanek


August 04, 2005|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Paul Goldstein stood on the Stadium Court baseline of the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic last night and looked across the net.

His match with No. 13 seed Paradorn Srichaphan was on his racket. Three match points. Across the net his opponent was ill with abdominal pains, a tight back and painful shoulder that has been bothering him much of the year.

"I knew I should win this match," Goldstein said.

But he didn't.

He lost, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

"I just tried to play every ball like it was my last and that allowed me to get back into the match," said Srichaphan. "My battery was really low out there."

Srichaphan kept hitting the ball back with power and one by one he knocked off Goldstein's chances for a match point, evening the third set, 5-5. From there, it was a matter of time before he put the match away for himself.

There are those who will say Goldstein choked, and the Rockville native might not disagree.

"At the end of the day, at the end of the match with three match points, nerves got the best of me," he said. "I'm extremely disappointed. He had stomach ailments and I needed to make him move. The guy could hardly stand up, and I'm just letting him stand there and use all his muscle on his returns. I was popping the ball up and hoping he'd miss. It wasn't very professional.

"But I was so nervous."

"You could see the angst in my face and you could see him fighting an illness," said Goldstein. "It came down to guts and effort. We sweated through six shirts."

Sweating was the order of the day yesterday.

The National Weather Service put out a heat advisory. The weather people were concerned about temperatures soaring into the 90s. On the Stadium Court, the thermometer climbed to 108 at the start of the match between Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who made it to the finals last year, and Nicolas Massu, the two-time Olympic gold medal winner.

Muller eventually won, 7-6 (2), 6-4. His next opponent will be the veteran Arnaud Clement, who won a crowd-pleasing match, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7).

Muller said he drank a lot of fluids before the match and used the iced towels provided between every changeover to cool his neck.

"Monday, I felt the heat more," he said. "Today, not feeling so much, maybe because the points were over quick with our big serves. But it's summer and you just have to get used to the heat."

Everyone did, but some did it better than others.

James Blake, the 2002 winner who is on the comeback trail after a terrible 2004, started fast against No. 4 seed Radek Stepanek but then needed three sets to move on, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

"Three or four months ago, I know I wouldn't have won a match like this," said Blake, describing the conditions on court as hot, humid and no fun.

"This was a close match that could have gone either way. ... It's great to pull through a match like this. The tide is turning."

Blake's victory means six of the top eight seeds are gone from this tournament and a total of eight of the total 16 seeds have departed.

"The men's tour is so deep," Blake said. "It's rare to see the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the final . . . Anyone can win on any given day. Andy Roddick can play someone you've never heard of and get an exciting match. That makes it exciting for me and I hope for the fans."

No. 1 seed Roddick will play Juan Ignacio Chela for a place in tomorrow's quarterfinals, and Luis Horna, a surprise winner against No. 5 Dominik Hrbaty, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4), will play his third-round match against Robby Ginepri. Ginepri won his 10th match in 11 outings yesterday, beating No. 12 seed Karol Beck, 6-3, 6-4.


Second round

Gilles Muller def. Nicolas Massu (9), 7-6 (2), 6-4. Bobby Reynolds def. Ricardo Mello (15), 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Robby Ginepri def. Karol Beck (12), 6-3, 6-4. Sebastien Grosjean (8) def. Alexander Popp, 6-2, 6-3. Arnaud Clement, def. Richard Bloomfield, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7). Juan Ignacio Chela (14) def. Brian Baker, 6-3, 6-3. James Blake def. Radek Stepanek (4), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Greg Rusedski (11) def. Nathan Healey, 7-6 (2), 6-2. Luis Horna def. Dominik Hrbaty (5), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4). Paradorn Srichaphan (13) def. Paul Goldstein, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

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