Saturday, August 16, 2003

Schuettler needs to finish the job



By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PHOTO GALLERY

Photos of Friday's matches
MASON - It is hardly worth noting that German Rainer Schuettler is playing in today's semifinals at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters. Now, if he goes onto win the tournament, that will be something.

True, no German has made the semis here since 1995, but Schuettler is so consistent week by week that it is almost expected of him to win a few matches in every tournament. Just last week in Montreal, he reached this very stage in the Canada Tennis Masters Series. This year he also got to the final of the Australian Open, the semis of the Indian Wells TMS and Sydney, and the quarters of Rome TMS, Stuttgart, Gstaad, Munich, Dubai and Chennai.

But in none of those tournaments did Schuettler leave with the champions' hardware. Still, his world ranking at No. 8 is the highest of his career, up from No. 23 at the beginning of the year. All that is left for him to do is win a tournament, a feat he has done twice in his eight-year career but not since 2001 in Shanghai.

"It's very important (to win today)," Schuettler said. "I've never played in a Masters Series final, but (Friday) went very well, and I am happy with my match."

Schuettler, 27, made quick work of American youngster Robby Ginepri Friday in their quarterfinal match at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

Schuettler broke Ginepri's serve twice in the first set while holding his own serve throughout the match. He broke Ginepri again in the second at 4-3 and went on to win 6-2, 6-3. Ginepri didn't help himself by committing 19 unforced errors, ensuring a loss on a night when Schuettler won 85 percent of his first-serve points. Schuettler was 4-for-4 on break-point chances and served an ace when Ginepri had a chance to break.

Ginepri has never been to a TMS semifinal. But this is nothing new for Schuettler, who has improved his ranking for eight consecutive years and will make it nine at the end of this year.

He will take next week off before the U.S. Open because of back problems that have bothered him this summer including this week in Cincinnati. The tightness in his back got so bad Schuettler figured he would have to pull out.

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E-mail ddow@enquirer.com




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