The way Robby Ginepri's season has been going, a berth in the semifinals at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic makes perfect sense. After all, he was ousted in the first round in each of his two previous tournaments.
Ginepri, a 21-year-old Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, has withstood plenty of peaks and valleys this season, reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon and at the Australian Open, yet losing early recently in Cincinnati and Toronto to drop his world ranking to No. 60.
"I've had good results in the Grand Slams, but hadn't won a match in a while," said the fourth-seeded Ginepri, who advanced, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), over Raemon Sluiter. "It hadn't been a bad year, but not a great one. My coach just kept telling me to continue working hard and things would happen. The good things are happening."
Against Sluiter, Ginepri returned serve effectively despite blasts up to 132 mph. He broke Sluiter's serve twice and took a 4-0 in the first set, and led 2-0 in the second set before Sluiter broke him. But Ginepri dominated the tiebreaker to win the match.
Tursunov's Power Ball
Dmitry Tursunov may have lost in the main singles draw Thursday, but his tournament continued on the doubles side as he and new partner Travis Parrott earned a trip to the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) win over Rick Leach and Brian Macphie.
Tursunov's success in doubles comes on the heels of a breakthrough singles season that saw him enter this tournament as the No. 8 seed.
The 22-year-old Russian entered the tournament after an impressive summer in which he won a challenger event in Hawaii and has turned in some solid performances against top seeds in ATP events.
He defeated then sixth-ranked Marat Safin in the first round at Wimbledon and advanced to the quarterfinals in Houston, where he fell to Tommy Haas. He also extended Athens Games finalist Mardy Fish to three sets in the quarterfinals in Memphis. In the process, Tursunov has improved his ranking to No. 68.
Tursunov uses only one word to describe his style of play: power. He leads at Legg Mason with 40 aces and has dazzled crowds with blistering passing shots.
Yet Tursunov acknowledges that his go-for-broke style is what contributed to his loss to qualifier Michel Kratochvil on Thursday.
"I live by the sword, and die by it," Tursunov said. "Of course, I'm not going to get away with just powering the ball. The hardest part of tennis is that there is a fine line of when to go for a shot and not to. It's a learning process."