- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Robby Ginepri entered the Legg Mason Tennis Classic brimming with confidence thanks to back-to-back strong performances.

After a straight-set victory in the first round yesterday, Ginepri seems poised to contend for the third straight week.

Ginepri upended training partner Kevin Kim 6-3, 6-2 at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park, building upon his impressive results since the beginning of the hardcourt season in the United States.

The stretch began two weeks ago at Indianapolis, where he defeated five seeded players, including Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, en route to his second career title and first since 2003. Last week, he reached the quarterfinals in Los Angeles before falling to Gilles Muller.

“A couple years ago I was just winning matches by grinding people down,” said Ginepri, who meets 12th-seeded Karol Beck in the second round. “Now I’m doing the same things but I think I’m a little smarter out on the court. I’m making better decisions on where I’m hitting shots, I’m definitely serving a lot better.”

The 21-year-old grew stronger as both sets progressed yesterday. After failing to convert three break points in Kim’s second service game, Ginepri ripped off 12 of the next 13 points to take a 5-2 lead. Kim, who committed 20 unforced errors in the set, denied two more break points before surrendering the set in the next game.

Ginepri fell down a break in the second before making another late-set charge. He collected 20 of the final 27 points, breaking Kim twice before clinching the match with a forehand winner.

Similar play could help Ginepri later in the summer at the U.S. Open, where he has yet to advance past the third round.

“I’d like to do something in the U.S. Open,” said Ginepri, a Legg Mason semifinalist last year. “It’d be a great place to get my best result in a Grand Slam.”

Philippoussis exits early

Wild card Mark Philippoussis was broken once in each set en route to a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Luis Horna.

The hard-serving Australian, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up whose career has been derailed by injuries, was playing in only his seventh tournament of the season. In part because of the inactivity, he has fallen to 208th in the rankings.

Etc.

Alex Clayton, an 18-year-old making his first career ATP Tour appearance, lost in the first round to fellow wild card Bobby Reynolds 7-5, 6-4. … Muller, a Legg Mason finalist last year, swept past Davide Sanguinetti, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round.

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