Spanish Teen Nadal Continues to Impress; Four Seeds Exit in Newport

Posted on July 10, 2003

ATP REVIEW/PREVIEWThe Man Child Nadal is thru (ATP)
Spanish teen Rafael Nadal continued his breakout year Tuesday in Bastad, ousting No. 3-seeded Younes El Aynaoui in three sets to advance into the second round. "In the first set I played fantastic tennis. I can't play much better," said Nadal, who earlier in the year recorded wins over French Open winners Carlos Moya and Al Costa. "It's too soon for me to start talking about my chances of winning a tournament." Kid needs to ditch the "Roger Federer Syndrome." Spaniard David Ferrer also scored an upset in Sweden, beating countryman and No. 7 seed Fernando Vicente in straights. In Gstaad, top-seeded Roger Federer needed some extra time to shake the grass off his shoes in his first match back on clay, beating Spaniard Marc Lopez in three sets. "I haven't won too many matches here in Gstaad, but I had a lot of confidence from Wimbledon," said Federer, still shaking off the post-Wimbledon hangover. "My body is very tired. That's why I could play so relaxed. I was very relaxed out there, I could choose my moments. But my legs were like concrete." Other seeds advancing were (2)Schuettler (d. Arthurs), (7)Corretja (d. van Lottum), and (8)Stepanek (d. (Q)Armando). At Newport on the grass, the tournament lost a stunning four seeds in one day including (1)Blake (l. to Carraz in three), (3)Fish (l. to Serbian (Q)Vemic), (5)"Everybody Loves" Raemon Sluiter (l. to Draper, retiring in the second set due to illness), and (6)Brian "The Eligible Bachelor" Vahaly (l. to Miranda). "It was tough to get into a rhythm," said Blake, the 28th consecutive No. 1 seed to not win the tournament. "He has a pretty big serve. He put balls in the court when he needed to, on the big points. This is very disappointing. I fought the whole match. I gave it my all out there. It's frustrating when you're close to home and the number one seed, you want to do well." A quick observation on why Blake and Fish lost, because they came to the net! Both these guys cannot make a decent first volley, and invariably it set their opponents up for the easy pass. Nice post-Wimbledon effort fellas. Defending champion Taylor Dent withdrew due to a pinched nerve in his right hand, replaced by lucky loser Jeff Salzenstein, who went on to defeat George "Once I Beat Pete" Bastl in straight sets.

Seeds on court today in Bastad are (6)Lapentti vs. Adrian "Tennis-X Bottom 10" Voinea, (WC)Rehnquist vs. (5)Zabaleta, and (4)Youzhny vs. Franco "The Squirrel" Squillari. Seeds on court in Gstaad are (4)Gaudio vs. Burgsmuller, (5)Chela vs. Lopez, and the struggling young Frenchman Mathieu vs. (3)Novak. Seeds in action in Newport (what remain of them) are (4)Ginepri vs. van Scheppingen, and (8)Melzer vs. Knowle; not packing the stands with that line-up.

At Palermo Tuesday there were only two seeds in action, and both struggled to regain their clay footing coming off the grasscourt season. Top-seeded Magui "Don't Call Me Maggie" Serna edged Conchita Martinez Granados 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, while No. 7 Emilie Loit outlasted Cristina Torrens Valero 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Qualifiers and Italian wildcards had their day, with (Q)Fedak (d. Cohen-Aloro), (WC)Vinci (d. Benesova), and (WC)Serra Zanetti (d. (LL)Schruff) advancing.

On court today are Schiavone vs. Yan, Serna vs. Cervanova, Vinci vs. Srebotnik, Barna vs. Safina, Medina Garrigues vs. Chladkova, Pisnik vs. Voracova, Razzano vs. Koukalova, and Schaul vs. Wartusch, a line-up only the most ardent Euro women's tennis fan could love.

A lot of shake-ups after the grasscourt season, with Andre Sa giving up the top spot in a two-way tie for worst on tour. Moving out: Justin Gimelstob, Lars Burgsmuller, David Ferrer; Moving in: Spaniards Al Montanes and Al Portas, and Argentina's Jose Acasuso (minimum 12 matches, through July 6, 2003):

1T. Krajan, Zeljko (CRO) 2-11.154
1T. Waske, Alexander (GER)2-11.154
3. Sa, Andre (BRA)3-16.158
4. Enqvist, Thomas (SWE)4-18.182
5. Mamiit, Cecil (USA)3-10.231
6T. Beck, Karol (SVK)5-13.278
6T. Labadze, Irakli (GEO)5-13.278
8. Voinea, Adrian (ROM)7-16.304
9. Montanes, Albert (ESP)5-11.313
10T.Acasuaso, Jose (ARG)6-13.316
10T.Portas, Albert (ESP)6-13.316

Newport defending champion Taylor Dent withdrew from the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Tuesday because of a pinched nerve in his right hand, that kid is going to have an injury-plagued career...Daniela "Stick Girl" Hantuchova is sticking to her vow to play only one Fed Cup date a year, leaving Slovakia without its top player in the quarterfinals against Belgium -- sounds more like a case of not wanting some "L"s against the waffle twins...Nico Lapentti has yet to reach a quarterfinal this year...Gstaad organizers presented top seed Roger Federer with a cow to commemorate his Wimbledon win -- now someone in Switzerland is without transportation...With James Blake out, The Curse of the Casino continues in Newport: No top seed has ever won the title there…Anna "I'm The Real Shady" Kournikova has reportedly split with coach Harold Solomon...The third episode of The Tennis Channel's original "No Strings" series, featuring Russian teen Maria "Orgasmo" Sharapova, will air Sunday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. ET...SFX management finally beat out the competition to sign American junior phenom Brian Baker...Rainer Schuettler came into Gstaad with a leg injury sustained at Wimbledon: "I didn't even know if I could play here because of the injury. I could only practice on Sunday for the first time. I have no pain surprisingly."...In Newport, a wildcard went to 17-year-old Aussie Chris Guccione, who reached the Wimbledon boy's final.