As Paul Goldstein battled through his first-round match at Wimbledon today, his father sat 6,000 miles away in his mortgage banking office on New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring glued to his computer. The match was not televised, so Clark Goldstein was depending on the Internet to find out how his 22-year-old son fared against the heavily favored Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands.
"It was just impossible -- they only update the Web site every two minutes, and it's torture," Clark said. "When it was 0-0 in the fifth set, he was up 15-0 and my computer wouldn't update anymore for some reason. For 12 minutes I was going crazy, and then all of the sudden it updates and he's up four games to none and up 40-0. I couldn't believe it."
Neither could the 33th-ranked Siemerink, who reached the quarterfinals here last year. Goldstein, ranked 112th, had won the first set, but Siemerink had won the second and third and seemed to have the match in hand. He started feeling ill, however, and Goldstein finished out the fourth and fifth sets quickly, racing ahead of the fading light to claim a 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory in his first appearance in the main draw.
The upset was an unusual hiccup on an otherwise routine day in which seeded players Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf, Venus Williams, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova advanced. British favorites Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski also won, although No. 3 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov was in trouble when his match with Magnus Larsson was suspended because of darkness at 6-7 (7-4), 7-5, 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 5-5.
An entertaining match between Anke Huber and Jennifer Capriati was also suspended after Centre Court became blanketed in darkness. Huber slipped on the damp grass early in the match and Capriati fell twice in the final game the pair played, leaving the match at 7-5, 3-6, 5-5.
Half-watching the results from the late matches on a television monitor, Goldstein seemed almost as pleased to be in the company of such names as he did to have won his match.
A graduate of Sidwell Friends School and Stanford University, Goldstein appeared at the All England club as a junior in 1994 but had not been back since. He was scheduled to play in the qualifying rounds here, but he found out the night before his first scheduled match that a withdrawal by Russian teenager Marat Safin had bumped him into the main draw.
"There will be Christmas cards [to Safin] for sure," joked Goldstein. "In the juniors, you are in the draw with future Samprases and Agassis, but you don't know who they will be quite yet. But you see yourself in the same draw with [Sampras and Agassi] themselves, and Becker playing this year too -- it's great."
By skipping the qualifying, Goldstein had an extra week to practice getting his footing on the grass, and by this afternoon he was raring to start playing. Still, he said he was a little nervous, waking up early this morning and gobbling up a sandwich and some yogurt to make sure he would have the proper strength for the match.
He played well in the first set, even diving for a ball to set up set point. He had chances to break in the second and third sets, but in the end it was Siemerink, 29, who broke when Goldstein tried too hard to run the Dutchman around the court. When Siemerink felt ill and called for a trainer midway through the match, Goldstein took the opportunity to shift his strategy.
"I tried to put my Stanford degree to the test -- I made a little adjustment there in the fourth set, trying to let the serve come to me and take a bigger crack at it," Goldstein said.
As for the illness of Siemerink, who did not address the media after the match, Goldstein said: "I think by the fifth set there was an effect on his play and he was definitely tired, but just the same, I felt I won the first set when I didn't sense he was really sick. In the second and third I had real chances to win, so I don't feel slighted at all."
Goldstein has shown a talent for performing well at Grand Slams lately, advancing to the third round of the Australian Open by knocking off Rusedski. He fell to Andrei Pavel in the round of 32, but not before taking the Romanian to five sets. In the U.S. Open last year, he took a set from Sampras in the second round, earning praise from his top-ranked opponent.
He has not done as well in some of his other matches this year, winning two matches in the eight tournaments he entered, but neither he nor his family was discouraged.
His father said he believes all the hard work Goldstein put into his tennis this spring will pay off over the summer, when he will play for the United States at the Pan Am Games as well as in Washington's Legg Mason Classic.
For his part, Paul was impressed his father could even follow his match online. His mother, Patti, took his grandmother to a movie this afternoon to allay the suspense. "My dad is computer-illiterate, so the fact that he got on the right Web site is a shocker for me," Goldstein said. "I know they would love to be here. They are really excited right now."
When: Today through July 4.
Where: All England Club, Wimbledon.
Defending champions: Pete Sampras, Jana Novotna.
Top seeds: Sampras, Martina Hingis.
Today's TV: 9 a.m., HBO.
Yesterday's results: Men -- Sampras (1), Orlando, def. Scott Draper, Australia, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4; Tim Henman (6), Britain, def. Arnaud Di Pasquale, France, 6-4, 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1); Mark Philippoussis (7), Australia, def. Xavier Malisse, Belgium, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Greg Rusedski (9), Britain, def. Jason Stoltenberg, Australia, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; Carlos Moya (12), Spain, def. Jan Kroslak, Slovakia, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2; Karol Kucera (13), Slovakia, def. Alejandro Hernandez, Mexico, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. Women -- Steffi Graf (2), Germany, def. Ludmila Cervanova, Slovakia, 6-1, 6-4; Monica Seles (4), Sarasota, Fla., def. Cristina Torrens-Valero, Spain, 6-3, 6-1; Venus Williams (6), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., def. Miriam Oremans, Netherlands, 6-1, 7-5; Nathalie Tauziat (8), France, def. Lucie Ahl, Britain, 6-3, 6-2; Amanda Coetzer (12), South Africa, def. Nicole Pratt, Australia, 6-2, 7-5; Sandrine Testud (13), France, def. Julie Pullin, Britain, 6-1, 6-3; Anna Kournikova (17), Russia, def. Barbara Schwartz, Austria, 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-2.
Today's featured matches: Men -- Cristiano Caratti, Italy, vs. Patrick Rafter (2), Australia; Andrei Pavel, Romania, vs. Andre Agassi (4), Las Vegas; Richard Krajicek (5), Netherlands, vs. Christian Ruud, Norway; Todd Martin (8), Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., vs. Hendrik Dreekmann, Germany; Boris Becker, Germany, vs. Miles Maclagan, Britain. Women -- Hingis (1), Switzerland, vs. Jelena Dokic, Australia; Lindsay Davenport (3), Newport Beach, Calif., vs. Alexandra Fusai, France; Wang Shi-Ting, Taiwan, vs. Jana Novotna (5), Czech Republic; Annamaria Foldenyi, Hungary, vs. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (7), Spain; Mikael Tillstrom, Sweden, vs. Goran Ivanisevic (10), Croatia.