- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 9, 2009

In Saturday’s first match, Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski defeated Travis Parrott and Filip Polasek 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) to advance to the doubles final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

The Polish pair, ranked 10th on the ATP Tour, has a chance to add a second title to its victory early this year on grass in Eastbourne, England. If they prevail Saturday, it would be the duo’s first championship on an outdoor hard court.

Both teams were broken on their first service games, but neither lost a game on serve again. The match took almost two hours even though no game lasted longer than seven points.

Parrot and Polasek were the runners-up to Fyrstenberg and Matkowski in Eastbourne and have reached the semifinals seven times this year.

Damm, Lindstedt rest

The other doubles finalists, Martin Damm and Robert Lindstedt, didn’t even have to break a sweat to get through the semis. They won in a walkover against Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor, who withdrew when Nestor suffered a left triceps injury.

Fresh off their second straight Wimbledon doubles title and sixth win of the season, Nestor and Zimonjic were competing in the District for the first time. They are the second-ranked doubles team in the world - behind only Bob and Mike Bryan, who withdrew before the tournament citing Mike Bryan’s ailing hip.

Feeling the heat

One moment at the beginning of the second set of the singles match between Juan Martin del Potro and Fernando Gonzalez captured the challenge of playing in the scorching afternoon conditions. Leading 30-15 on serve during the second game, Gonzalez stumbled while rushing up to return a drop shot and fell to the court. He lay there for a few seconds, and del Potro stepped over the net to help him up.

“I was thinking, lay down with him,” del Potro said.

Gonzalez went on to lose the game, as well as the next three after that, to fall into a 5-0 hole from which he couldn’t climb out.

“[The heat] was tough, physically and mentally,” Gonzalez said.

Del Potro’s title defense

Del Potro won four consecutive tournaments last year, including the Legg Mason Classic. But this week is his first attempt at defending his title; the Legg Mason is the only one of the four events he decided to keep on his schedule.

His name is printed on the stadium awning with other past champions, including Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors.

“To see my name in the stadium is like a dream,” he said.

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