- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

The Legg Mason Tennis Classic again is proving a home away from home for Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan.

The No. 13 seed, Paradorn defeated Wesley Moodie 6-3, 7-6 (1) yesterday in a round-of-16 match, much to the delight of about 30 thunderstick-clapping, whistle-blowing Thai fans perched in their usual corner of William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.

The fans were a vocal presence Wednesday night when Paradorn overcame a stomach ailment to defeat Paul Goldstein in a 2-hour, 32-minute marathon. Thanks to a solid night of rest, Paradorn didn’t appear limited in his victory over Moodie.

Paradorn, who will meet Luis Horna, also reached the quarterfinals last week in Los Angeles. It’s the first time Paradorn has reached the quarterfinals in back-to-back tournaments this year, which could be a sign he is on his way back to being a fixture in the top 20.

“I’ve been losing [my game] for a while, maybe because I didn’t really have the confidence to go out there and play,” said Paradorn, the runner-up to James Blake in the 2002 Legg Mason who has dropped to 42nd in the rankings. “The most important thing is to go out there and enjoy playing.”

Paradorn earned the only break of the match when his South African opponent double-faulted away the sixth game. The two traded serve fairly efficiently in the second set, with Moodie delivering a dozen aces and the pair combining for only one break chance in the final seven games.

However, Moodie delivered another inopportune double-fault to start the tiebreaker, and Paradorn came right back with an ace. With Moodie becoming increasingly frustrated, Paradorn closed out the match in just eight points. He then bowed to the crowd twice, reserving the second for the side of the stadium where his supporters were seated.

“I always have a lot of fans here, especially with a lot of Thai people here,” Paradorn said. “It’s a group that comes every day, puts the red shirts on and sits in the corner. It’s always nice to have a lot of fans supporting you.”

Muller runs down

Gilles Muller won’t be making a return to the Legg Mason final this year. French veteran Arnaud Clement defeated him 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal meeting with James Blake.

Muller, who reached his first ATP Tour final at the Legg Mason last year, went up a break in the third set before losing two of his last three service games. The 6-foot-5 native of Luxembourg was playing his third match in as many days after reaching the final in Los Angeles last week — and he had to play in the oppressive heat during a late afternoon match.

The 5-foot-8 Clement didn’t help matters, scrambling along the baseline to keep points alive throughout the match.

“I came here on Monday and I played every day, so it’s tough for me, especially today with the heat,” Muller said. “I was playing two sets every day, and today I played three sets, so at the end I was very tired.”

Despite the loss, Muller wasn’t too disappointed he didn’t go as far as a year ago in the Legg Mason.

“A lot of times before when I played one good tournament, the next week I always lost in the first round,” Muller said. “I came here and won two matches, so I’m happy with the tournament.”

Karlovic stands out

Ivo Karlovic hadn’t been to a quarterfinal on a surface other than grass all season before coming to Rock Creek Park this week.

The 6-foot-10 Croat, who defeated Greg Rusedski in straight sets to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with top-seeded Andy Roddick, is probably best known for upsetting Lleyton Hewitt in the first round at Wimbledon in 2003. He made his first ATP Tour final in June at Queen’s Club, where he fell to Roddick in two tiebreakers.

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