Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Celebrating at every turn, Robredo upsets Kuerten

The Associated Press

Spain's Tommy Robredo reacts after defeating Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten in a fourth round match of the French Open.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
PARIS - Meet Tommy Robredo, the latest wild card dealt by the French Open.

He celebrates midmatch points as though he's just won a title. He spins drop shots when no one else would. He's 21, the youngest man left at Roland Garros.

And now he's in the final eight of a Grand Slam tournament, joining Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya to give Spain four quarterfinalists at a major for the first time in the Open era.

Robredo upset three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 Monday in the fourth round, proving that his victory over top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt was no fluke. Next up: Costa, the defending champion.

"I've beaten the Ace, I've beaten the King," Robredo said. "Now I need to beat the Jack, don't I? I've beaten No. 1, I've beaten someone who won here three times, and the next person in my path is Costa."

Like Robredo, Guillermo Coria is 21, the son of a tennis coach, and playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Coria earned a matchup against childhood hero Andre Agassi by finishing off fellow Argentine Mariano Zabaleta 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in a match suspended after three sets Sunday because of darkness.

Coria, 3 1/2 months older than Robredo, was named after 1977 French Open champion Guillermo Vilas. But his favorite player growing up was Agassi.

Ferrero, who lost to Costa in last year's final, eliminated countryman Felix Mantilla 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Ferrero's next opponent is No. 19 Fernando Gonzalez, who beat No. 30 Jarkko Nieminen.

Costa opened the tournament with three five-setters, but he finally had an easy day, eliminating the last Frenchman, No. 32 Arnaud Clement, 6-2, 7-5, 7-5. The French Open's last homegrown male champion was Yannick Noah in 1983.

EXIT, MARTINA: Martina Navratilova came up short in her bid for a 58th Grand Slam title at the French Open. She and Svetlana Kuznetsova were eliminated in the third round of women's doubles by Daniela Hantuchova and Chanda Rubin 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Navratilova, 46, and Leander Paes lost in the first round of mixed doubles Sunday.

At a glance

Men: Seeded Winners, No. 3 Juan Carlos Ferrero, No. 7 Guillermo Coria, No. 9 Albert Costa, No. 19 Fernando Gonzalez, No. 28 Tommy Robredo. Losers, No. 15 Gustavo Kuerten, No. 20 Felix Mantilla, No. 30 Jarkko Nieminen, No. 32 Arnaud Clement.

Stat of the Day: 139. Number of unforced errors by Argentine Mariano Zabaleta, who lost his fourth-round match to countryman Guillermo Coria.

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Celebrating at every turn, Robredo upsets Kuerten

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