Americans keep rolling

NEWPORT, Rhode Island, AP

Taylor Dent and Robby Ginepri advanced Thursday to the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Championships, a tournament billed as a showcase for rising American tennis players.

Dent and Ginepri had little trouble with their opponents, and both made the semifinals for the first time in their careers.

Dent defeated fifth-seeded Alexander Popp of Germany 6-3, 6-2 in 58 minutes. Ginepri was even faster, ousting 2001 finalist Martin Lee of Britain 6-3, 6-1 in just 45 minutes.

“I’m a pretty quick player,” Ginepri said. “He was pretty fast as well.”

Lee had lost the first set in each of his first two matches, but he never recovered this time in the only grass-court event in the United States.

“He was getting better and better,” Lee said. “If it doesn’t come around, you won’t be on the court much.”

The 19-year-old Ginepri broke in the second game of the first set. He broke again in the first, third and final games of the second.

“It’s probably the best match I’ve ever served in my career,” Ginepri said. “I don’t think if you asked people at the beginning of the week if I’d be in the semifinals they’d have agreed.”

That’s how it is for Dent, too.

Known for one of the fastest serves on the tour, he combined that asset with a steady volley game.

“I’m learning to place my serve a little more — maybe to jam the guy,” Dent said.

But the 21-year-old player didn’t start out as well. He was broken in the first game of the match before rebounding by breaking in the fourth and sixth.

In the second set, Dent broke in the third game. In the next game, he went to his strength, his serve, following with a pair of aces en route to a 3-1 edge.

“Winning matches can’t hurt your confidence,” Dent said. “My confidence is growing.”

On Friday, a third young American, 20-year-old Mardy Fish, will try to complete the first semifinal in five years to feature four players from a single country. Spain’s Sergi Bruguera, Alberto Martin, Felix Mantilla and Carlos Moya did it last at the Croatia Open in 1997.

Fish faces seventh seeded Michael Llodra of France. A win would make it the first all American semifinal since 1995 at San Jose.

An American semifinalist is guaranteed in the final bracket, where top-seeded James Blake and Justin Gimelstob will meet on Friday. Ferrero ousted by David Sanchez; Corretja, Gaudio, Rosset through Spain’s David Sanchez toppled second-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the US$600,000 Swiss Open, leaving just two seeded players in the tournament.

Sanchez, who was knocked out in the opening round at Wimbledon, will join the two bottom-seeded players in the quarterfinals: seventh-seeded Gaston Gaudio of Argentina and two-time champion Alex Corretja of Spain, seeded eighth.

Gaudio reached the round of eight by defeating Russian Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (3), 6-4, while Corretja advanced with a handy 6-4, 6-4 victory over 1997 titlist Felix Mantilla.

In other action, home favorite Marc Rosset upset fourth-seeded Andrei Pavel of Romania, 7-5, 7-6 (1).

The victory was a feather in Sanchez’s cap. Ferrero, nicknamed “The Mosquito,” was a finalist here last year. The 22-year-old also reached the final of Roland Garros this year before surrendering to Albert Costa and was a winner at Tennis Masters Monte-Carlo.

Corretja, returning to action for the first time since his semifinal exit at the French Open last month, is seeking to become the first player since Sergi Bruguera to win three titles in Gstaad, after winning in 1998 and 2000.

Corretja will also be looking to ensure the title remains in Spanish hands after nine of the last 11 winners in Gstaad have come from Spain.

Corretja will face Sanchez in the quarterfinals.

Gaudio, a two-time winner on clay this season, triumphing in Barcelona and Mallorca, will face Rosset, a wildcard who defeated compatriot and doubles partner George Bastl in the opening round. Norman through to Swedish Open quarterfinals

Magnus Norman reached the quarter finals of his home Swedish Open beating Slovakian Dominik Hrbaty 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 after a slow start in the US$400,000 tournament.

“This was a key match,” said the Swede. “The pressure is now off as I’ll face players who have a better ranking than me and who have played more claycourt games on the ATP tour than I have.”

The 2000 French Open finalist, who has struggled to find his old pace after a long recovery from a hip injury, now faces Spanish fourth seed Tommy Robredo, who beat compatriot Gorka Fraile 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

“I will have to play as well as I did in the second and third set to have a chance against him,” said Norman.

Third seed Carlos Moya became the third Spaniard alongside Robredo and Albert Portas to reach the quarterfinals after beating Georgian Irakli Labadze 6-2, 6-4.

Moya next faces Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who scored a 6-3, 6-4 upset win over Chile’s sixth seed Fernando Gonzalez.