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Southern Section Players Making Noise at Pacfic Life Open

March 14, 2003 10:02 AM

The field at the Pacific Life Open gets smaller and smaller by the day, but USTA Southern Section-based players Robby Ginepri and Brian Vahaly just keep rolling along. Both reached the quarterfinals of the event on Thursday with impressive victories.

Ginepri won the biggest match of his young career on Thursday, defeating former world No. 1 and No. 7 seed Marat Safin 6-0 6-1 in the third round. Ginepri, who lives in Marietta, GA, said, "Today was one of my best matches I've played in my career... I haven't beaten a top player like this before. I've been close. I've never been able to get the job done." He will get the chance to make it two in a row in the quarterfinals when he faces current world No. 1 and No. 1 seed Lleyton Hewitt. Ginepri will be looking to avenge his 6-0 6-0 loss to Hewitt at the 2002 Masters Series event in Cincinnati. "He got me pretty good last time we played. Hopefully I can do a little better this time. I'm just going to go out there; I don't have anything to lose," Ginepri said.

When four players withdrew from the qualifying rounds of the Pacific Life open, Atlantan Brian Vahaly got the call he was looking for. Since then, Vahaly has been on a tear through the main draw, taking down Chilean Fernando Gonzales in the first round, No. 3 seed Juan Carlos Fererro of Spain in the second round, and Tommy Robredo, another Spaniard in the third round. Vahaly had a little help from a friend for the Robredo match, getting some advice from Andy Roddick. "I got a lot of advice going into the match...He just gave me some tips to think about in crunch situations, what his (Robredo) tendencies are on big points," Vahaly said. In the quarterfinals, Vahaly will meet fellow American qualifier Vince Spadea, who ousted the red-hot Paradorn Schriaphan in the first round.

Americans James Blake and Andy Roddick won their third round matches as well. Of the final eight players remaining in the main draw, five are American. It has been 14 years since this many Americans reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells. Six players did it in 1989: Andre Agassi, Jay Berger, Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors, Brad Gilbert, and Tim Mayotte.




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