- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

PARIS (AP) | As comfortable as Robby Ginepri might have appeared on clay for one wonderful week at the French Open, his fourth-round opponent, Fernando Gonzalez, truly excels on the surface.

Check out their clay-court records in 2008: Ginepri is 5-4, Gonzalez 16-0.

So that Ginepri would lose to the 24th-seeded Gonzalez in straight sets yesterday was not nearly as surprising as the fact that the American was still around in Paris.

“Disappointing performance on my part today, to not come there today and not have my ‘A’ game when I really expected it to be there,” the 88th-ranked Ginepri said after his 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-1 loss. “At the same time, it was a great last week and great tournament.”

Ginepri went 0-5 in his previous appearances at Roland Garros, but he became the first U.S. man since Andre Agassi in 2003 to get to the fourth round. Ginepri also happened to be the final American man or woman competing in singles.

The top-seeded men’s doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan also lost yesterday, leaving the United States with these representatives in the French Open’s professional draws: Ashley Harkleroad in women’s doubles (paired with a player from Russia), and Bob Bryan in mixed doubles (paired with a player from Belarus).

No class

Bob and Mike Bryan couldn’t recall ever declining to shake an opponent’s hand up at the net after a doubles match, no matter the result.

It happened yesterday at the French Open, when the American twins took offense at what they considered too much exuberance on the part of Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who teamed with Luis Horna of Peru to beat the top-seeded Bryans 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (1) in a rain-drenched quarterfinal.

When the teams changed sides in the third-set tiebreaker, Cuevas celebrated his duo’s 5-1 lead by hopping over the net. He landed not far from the Bryans, who were taking the more orthodox route around the net.

“He was really disrespectful,” Mike said. “He jumped the net right in our face. It’s classless.”

Added his brother: “I thought he was rubbing it in our face a little bit.”

Cuevas wasn’t exactly apologetic.

“Maybe I celebrated a little too much. But it’s worth it,” he said. “It’s not every day you beat the No. 1 team.”

Why didn’t the Bryans ask the chair umpire to halt play?

“We thought maybe we’d get some momentum and get a break,” Bob said.

But Mike acknowledged: “If I had to do it over again, I would stop.”

Monfils for Miami

Looking more like a wide receiver than a Grand Slam quarterfinalist, France’s Gael Monfils wore a Miami Hurricanes football jersey to his postmatch news conference yesterday.

“I dig Miami, the Hurricanes,” Monfils said in French. “I love any U.S. team.”

The dark green jersey bore uniform No. 5 and had no name on the back. Monfils said he has seen the Hurricanes play and likes other American sports as well.

“Ice hockey, basketball, a bit less baseball. But, yeah, I enjoy U.S. sports,” he said.

Ranked 59th, Monfils became the only Frenchman to reach the final eight when he beat Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Monfils’ on-court celebration began with a dance familiar to fans of the American rapper Soulja Boy.

“It’s a dance he does, and the song is called ‘Crank Dat,’” Monfils said.

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