He'll reach a career-high rank next week I'm sure, and he has a great chance to make the final I think!
Goldstein looks for that big break at U.S. Clay Court
By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Paul Goldstein is tennis' Crash Davis, the king of the "minor leagues." Last year he set the all-time record for Challenger circuit singles and doubles titles with 26.
But this fact does not impress him. He does not want to be Crash Davis, of Bull Durham fame. He wants to make it in The Show, which is to say on the ATP Tour, playing against the big boys and beating them on a regular basis.
"I'm knocking on 60's door," Goldstein, referring to his current career-high ranking of 64, which earned him the No. 7 seed in the U.S. Clay Court Championships at Westside Tennis Club. "But I'm not satisfied. I want more."
Even though, as he noted, "I'm also knocking on 30's door."
That reference was to his age. He hits the big three-oh in early August, so time is of the essence for him.
In this, what he calls the second chapter of his seven-year pro career, Goldstein might be on the cusp of catching his dream, and this tournament suddenly presents him with an intriguing opportunity. His half of the draw has collapsed. He's its only seed left.
James Blake. Gone. Robby Ginepri. Gone. Luis Horna. Gone. Juan Monaco. Gone.
Paul Goldstein. Not gone. He easily beat countryman Scoville Jenkins 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday.
Remarkably, even with Blake and Ginepri vanquished, half of the surviving eight players are American, although Mardy Fish and Vince Spadea received free passes into the quarterfinals against each other today. Fish didn't have to hit a ball to get past Rainer Schuettler, who couldn't answer the bell because of a debilitating digestive ailment. And Spadea's opponent, the entertaining fourth seed, Marcos Baghdatis, had to retire early in the second set because of lower back pain.
The 20-year-old Cypriot lost the first set 6-2 and had dropped three consecutive games in the second when, after a second session with ATP trainer Clay Sniteman, he decided to retire. He had endured a long weekend of Davis Cup play in Bulgaria, then a grueling trip to Houston that began with a 3 a.m. departure from his hotel Sunday.
"Maybe it's a sign that I need to take some time off," Baghdatis said. "I have been working very hard since the Australian (Open, where he was runner-up to Roger Federer). I was feeling this before the match."
The tournament suffered another blow late Thursday when the popular, top-seeded Bryans, Bob and Mike, were beaten in the new super-tiebreaker 10-7 by Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Waske.
Next up: Montanes
Goldstein's quarterfinal hurdle will be Spain's Albert Montanes, who won just as easily over Tomas Behrend 6-2, 6-3. Nominally — or, better, numerically — Goldstein has become the favorite to make the final, something he has never done at the ATP level. But despite the mass carnage around him, he's a long way from pronouncing himself the favorite. Why? Montanes for starters. The Spaniard, not surprisingly, loves the clay. So does his countryman Fernando Vicente, who bounced Frenchman Antony Dupuis, 6-2, 7-5.
On the dirt, Goldstein has never gone further than he is now. But he's also never been better equipped, mentally and physically, to take the next step. He calls his recent ranking renaissance, a long slog back from below 200, "the product of a lot of hard work, and that's what I'm the proudest of."