Saturday, February 7, 2004

Roddick, Ginepri give U.S. 2-0 lead

Tennis roundup

The Associated Press

UNCASVILLE, Conn. - With a flick of his elastic right arm, Andy Roddick hit a record-breaking 150 mph serve to set the tone for his lopsided Davis Cup victory.

Teammate Robby Ginepri had to work much harder for his own precedent-setting win.

Together, Roddick and Ginepri gave the United States a 2-0 lead over Austria on Friday in their best-of-five first-round Davis Cup series.

Ginepri came all the way back to beat Jurgen Melzer 6-7 (6), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, becoming the first U.S. rookie in the 105-year history of the Davis Cup to win a match after dropping the first two sets.

In the second match, U.S. Open champion Roddick set a new standard for serving speed and overwhelmed Stefan Koubek 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in 1 1/2 hours - half the time Ginepri needed.

Hoping to end the U.S. Davis Cup drought - the country's last title came in 1995 - captain Patrick McEnroe took a chance and went with Ginepri, 21, who turned pro in 2001. McEnroe bypassed James Blake, Mardy Fish and Taylor Dent, who have a combined 10-7 career record in Davis Cup matches.

The odds didn't look good for Ginepri after two sets against Melzer. Perhaps realizing his predicament couldn't get much worse, Ginepri began swinging more freely. He also eventually solved Melzer's left-handed serve.

"I didn't come up with the goods in the first two sets, but I hung in there and took it," Ginepri said. "Playing for the country for the first time - there's no other experience out there that teaches you how to deal with that."

The Americans can clinch victory and advance to a quarterfinal meeting against defending champion Australia or Sweden by winning today's doubles.

Elsewhere in the first round, Thomas Enqvist gave Sweden a 1-0 lead Friday over defending champion Australia, defeating Mark Philippoussis 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. But Lleyton Hewitt stepped up and thrashed Davis Cup rookie Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

Roger Federer, the newly crowned Australian Open champion, leveled Switzerland's tie in Romania with a 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-1 victory over Victor Hanescu.

Davenport advances, Rubin pulls out of Pan Pacific

TOKYO - Defending champion Lindsay Davenport overpowered Jelena Dokic to advance Saturday to the final of the Pan Pacific Open.

The second-seeded American defeated No. 7 Dokic 6-1, 6-0 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium to set up a meeting with Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva in the final.

Maleeva advanced when fifth-seeded American Chanda Rubin was forced to pull out earlier Saturday because of left knee injury.

"I aggravated my knee during my first-round match," Rubin said. "Unfortunately, I won't be able to play today."

But the other seeded American will have her chance.

"If I serve well and hit a good first groundstroke it's very effective on this surface," Davenport said. "I think Jelena was hurt today and that's unfortunate for the fans, but I just tried to play my game."

Dokic's leg was taped and she appeared to have difficulty moving around the court. The player from Serbia and Montenegro, who sat out last month's Australian Open, was playing in her first tournament of the year.

On Sunday, Davenport will be gunning for her fourth title in this tournament. She also won in 1998 and 2001.

The loss of Rubin was the tournament's second major withdrawal in as many days.

On Friday, top-seeded Venus Williams pulled out of her quarterfinal match with Rubin.

Rubin, who has had two surgeries on her knee, said she was unable to play despite the day off Friday.

"I was looking to go out and play yesterday," she said. "But this morning I knew I definitely would not be able to play this match."

American doubles player suspended for two months

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - American doubles player Graydon Oliver was suspended for two months Friday and will forfeit $5,000 in prize money because he tested positive for a banned substance last year.

The ATP said that Oliver's drug test at the Tennis Masters Series tournament in Miami contained a diuretic, which are banned because they can mask the use of other substances. No other prohibited substance was found in Oliver's urine sample.

A Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal determined that the source of the diuretic in Oliver's system was a mislabeled, over-the-counter herbal product.

Oliver, who turned pro in 2002, finished last season 53rd in the doubles rankings.

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