Ginepri's last American man playing in Paris
By HOWARD FENDRICH
PARIS — Saturday did not get off to a particularly auspicious start for Americans in Paris.
Playing simultaneously across the Roland Garros grounds in the morning, Andy Roddick lost in straight sets, the top-seeded Bryan twins did the same in doubles, and Serena Williams felt so dizzy and weak while dropping five consecutive games that she sought a doctor's attention before eventually turning things around to win.
And then, as daylight gave way to dusk amid an intermittent drizzle, Robby Ginepri of Kennesaw, Ga., pulled off quite a victory, upsetting 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, to give the United States one man in the fourth round.
"Obviously you want as many Americans in the tournament as you can," Ginepri said. "But if I'm the last man standing, you know, so be it."
His run at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament is really rather unlikely, and not just because he had to beat two seeded players along the way.
Consider: Ginepri doesn't have a coach, is ranked 98th, and hadn't won a main-draw match on clay this year before arriving at the French Open. Indeed, before his 3-0 streak over the past week, Ginepri boasted a record of 1-7 — yes, 1-7! — in all tour-level matches this season.
"I'm quite surprised that he (Ferrero) lost," is the way his countryman Rafael Nadal put it after moving into the fourth round by beating two-time major title winner Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
Also winning yesterday were No. 3-seeded Novak Djokovic, Ginepri's next opponent; No. 7 Fernando Verdasco, No. 11 Mikhail Youzhny, and No. 19 Nicolas Almagro.
No. 6 Roddick, though, lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to 114th-ranked qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia, and acknowledged: "I got outplayed from the first ball."
Roddick's exit came at roughly the same time as that of his frequent U.S. Davis Cup teammates Bob and Mike Bryan, who were seeking their record-breaking 62nd career doubles title but lost 6-3, 7-6 (6) in the second round to unseeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.
"Maybe we're a little tired mentally," Bob Bryan said.
The top-seeded Williams felt ill and went from dominant to ordinary, falling behind 5-0 in the second set against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a Russian teen seeded 29th.
During a changeover, a doctor and trainer came out, took Williams' temperature and gave her some pills.
"I don't know what they were, to be honest," Williams said. "I just took them."
Her play improved in the third set, and Williams closed out the 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 win.