Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ginepri Continues Amazing American Run

American Robby Ginepri grinded out another five set match to advance to his first ever slam semifinal. For the third consecutive match, he outlasted an opponent in front of many Ashe Stadium supporters. This time, the victim was eighth seeded Argentine Guillermo Coria. In another exciting match that lasted just past three hours, Ginepri bested Coria 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.

After Coria took the first set, Ginepri fought back in the second with two breaks and coasted to square the match. That's when the level of play picked up. With both players striking the ball well from the baseline, producing long rallies, playing the kind of tennis that was crowd pleasing.

In a tipsy-tovy third set, Coria raced to a break lead up 5-3. In a sudden twist, Ginepri turned the tables on Coria breaking him twice, taking the last four games to claim the set.

But Coria wasn't ready to go home. Down a set, he made Ginepri work really hard to win points by chasing down balls and coming up with great shots on the run. The pressure finally got to the 22-year-old in the eighth game when he was broken at love after missing a couple of easy volleys. This time with a chance to close the set, Coria didn't wilt. Using aggressive net play that won him 32 of 39 points (82 percent) and nailing his 11th ace, Coria sent the match to a final set.

With both guys saving their best for last, several points were breathtaking. One included a Coria drop shot which Ginepri ran down, then countered with his own but Coria raced for a backhand into the open court. Afterwards, in a rare display of sportsmanship, the two slapped five out of mutual respect for the kind effort they gave. Another point saw Ginepri drawn in by Coria again and hit a lob volley which Coria recovered to hit at Ginepri, who stuck a forehand volley. But somehow, Coria sped to hit a forehand winner.

When Coria broke for 4-3 in the fifth, Ginepri dug deep to break back, taking advantage of a loose game that included a double fault on break point to get back on serve. As the seesaw battle continued with each struggling to hold, Ginepri saw Coria fight off three match points in the 10th game. It included an overhead that clipped the net to end a rally, resulting in Ginepri waving his arms in disbelief.

After serving his 10th ace to hold for 6-5, Ginepri forced Coria into a sudden death service game. Remarkably, Coria saved two more match points on a mishit forehand volley that landed in and a volley putaway to keep him alive. But his undoing was his serve. After overcoming 20 double faults in a five set win over Nicolas Massu in the previous round, Coria shockingly hit his 13th and 14th double faults in succession to give Ginepri the victory.

Looking spent after the match, Ginepri didn't know how he won. "I don't know what's going on right now," he said. "I'm a little foggy, a little dizzy. It's crazy. Crazy!''

At least he'll have three days to recover before he takes on Andre Agassi Saturday.

Dementieva Shows Heart In Win Over Davenport

In the final women's quarterfinal Wednesday night, Russian Elena Dementieva (6) overcame 12 double faults and a match point to eliminate second seeded American Lindsay Davenport in three sets 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (6). She'll meet Frenchwoman Mary Pierce (12) in the semis, who earlier in the day defeated Amelie Mauresmo (3) 6-4, 6-1.

In a match marred with errors, Dementieva ultimately was able to hit enough winners on big points to pull the upset. Taking advantage of a sluggish Davenport at the beginning, she raced out to a 3-0 lead, breaking Davenport twice. With the 29-year-old vet misfiring some of her 56 unforced errors and double faulting six times herself, the 23-year-old Russian broke Davenport all four times in the first set, dropping just one game in an easy 27-minute set.

But in the second set, the match swung when Dementieva started to have trouble on serve and began missing shots from the baseline, resulting in 43 unforced errors. Meanwhile, Davenport finally found the range from the ground, moving her younger opponent around. She even took advantage at the net converting 22 of 29 (76 percent). She broke three times in the set including the ninth game to square the match.

The final set which lasted over an hour would be even more unpredictable. With both struggling mightily to hold due to great returns of serve, they exchanged two breaks late in the set. Both times, Dementieva seemed in control of her destiny but couldn't handle the pressure. Davenport converted 35 of 47 (68 percent) on her wild second serve to gain her sixth break in 18 chances on what else; a double fault to send it to a tiebreaker. Astonishingly, Dementieva's seven breaks in 10 chances on Davenport's serve came from a similar result. She won 24 of 36 (67 percent) points.

The tiebreak was equally as wild. With Dementieva leading 5-2, Davenport stormed back winning the next four points to setup match point. On a second serve, Dementieva showed the heart of a lion, ripping an inside out forehand winner to save it. After reaching match point on a nifty dropshot winner, Dementieva sealed the victory with a crosscourt backhand winner, her 34th of the night.

A finalist in Flushing last year before she lost to countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dementieva advanced to her second consecutive Open semifinal.

"It seems like a lucky place for me," said Dementieva referring to the Ashe Stadium court afterwards. "After last year I'm still dreaming about Saturday night every single day, so who knows."

She might not have to wait too much longer.


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