Monday, May 31, 2010
Nadal wins; Djokovic beats Ginepri
ESPN.com news services
PARIS -- Four-time champion Rafael Nadal moved into the quarterfinals of the French Open with another straight-sets victory.
But the second-seeded Nadal was challenged by the 24th-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil, losing his serve four times before winning 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.
Novak Djokovic won five straight games and 10 of 11 after the second set as Robby Ginepri faded.
Nadal is attempting to become the second man to win five French Open titles. Bjorn Borg holds the record of six.
Nadal won his first 31 career matches at Roland Garros before losing to Robin Soderling in the fourth round last year. He's now 35-1 at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament. His next opponent will be fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who beat Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Earlier, Novak Djokovic beat Robby Ginepri 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, eliminating the last American in the men's draw.
Ginepri was serving at 0-1 in the third set when he went down face-first chasing a shot. He made the most of his awkward court position by doing push-ups but lost the next two points to lose serve and won only three games the rest of the way.
"I felt a little stupid slipping and falling on my face, so I tried to get the crowd back to my side," Ginepri said. "Maybe that took a little bit of my focus away doing that. I'll probably never do push-ups again on court."
Djokovic's next opponent will be Austrian Jurgen Melzer, who advanced by beating qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
At 29, Melzer is the oldest man left in the field. He's also reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in 32 appearances.
"Well, to be the oldest player is not a special feeling," Melzer said. "Reaching the quarterfinals for the first time -- that's a special feeling."
Ranked 98th, Ginepri was an unlikely round-of-16 foe for the No. 3-seeded Djokovic. Ginepri entered the tournament with a 1-7 record this year, and a career record of 9-31 on clay.
Djokovic's box included more than a dozen supporters who cheered and waved a Serbian flag every time he won a point. Ginepri's without a coach and traveled to Paris by himself.
Still, the American played Djokovic on even terms for more than an hour. Ginepri held serve easily until the final game of the first set, when he was broken.
Need the scores from any match played in today's French Open? Results
Djokovic blew an easy forehand putaway to lose his serve for the first time, and Ginepri broke again while dominating the second set.
But then Ginepri faded fast, perhaps weary after playing 13 grinding sets in his first three matches. His groundstrokes became more erratic, and Djokovic won five consecutive games and 10 of 11 to take control.
The Serb volleyed well, found the range with his serve and used his drop shot to keep Ginepri off balance. A two-time semifinalist at Roland Garros, Djokovic is bidding for his second major title.
"I played really good in the third and fourth sets," Djokovic said. "I had some really good matches on clay recently. Now I'm in the quarterfinals and I need to keep playing aggressively."
Ginepri, a former top-15 player from Kennesaw, Ga., fell to 0-15 against opponents ranked in the top three.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.