Gambill Is Done In By Double Faults
Stoppini Advances in Legg Mason
By Melanie Ho
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 31, 2006; E05
In the end, his greatest strength let him down. Facing match point in a Legg Mason Tennis Classic qualifying match, Jan-Michael Gambill was serving to push the second set to a tiebreak. And then he double-faulted.
Gambill, who had 10 aces against Andrea Stoppini, had a service speed of as high as 135 mph, but Gambill, who is coming off an eight-month layoff from tennis, also had five double faults in the match, which Stoppini won, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
"I served really well in the first set and beginning of the second set," Gambill said. "I started to bring my head down a little bit and do some things that are poor fundamentally in the second part of it in the second set."
The basis for the entire match was the serve. Though Stoppini, a 26-year old from Roverto, Italy, does not have as big a serve as Gambill, both were able to place their serves well throughout the match. Stoppini finished with 14 aces.
"We played well, and also him, he served very well," Stoppini said. "Unfortunately, it wasn't a match that turned in his favor. I served well, I had lots of aces, so I'm happy."
Also evident of the match's reliance on the serve were the number of converted break chances. Gambill had only two chances to break Stoppini's serve and Stoppini was successful just once in his seven chances. Of course, that single conversion was what allowed Stoppini to take the match.
Gambill felt that his return of serve was what proved to be problematic. He used to call his return of serve one of his greatest strengths but since his return to tennis from a shoulder injury, Gambill felt that his movements were slower.
"I'm missing some shots I shouldn't be missing because my feet just aren't moving, not getting into position like I need to. I'm not really returning very well like I used to," Gambill said. "My first step's a little slow on the return so I could have gotten a few more of those back. That's one thing I'm a little disappointed in."
While Stoppini will next face Paul Goldstein today in the tournament's main draw, Gambill will return to his home in Hawaii, saying that he wasn't sure what tournaments he would next play.