PARIS - Saturday did not get off to a particularly auspicious start for Americans in Paris.
Playing simultaneously across the Roland Garros grounds in the morning, Andy Roddick lost in straight sets, the top-seeded Bryan twins did the same in doubles, and Serena Williams felt so dizzy and weak while dropping five consecutive games that she sought a doctor's attention before eventually turning things around to win.
Then, as daylight gave way to dusk amid an intermittent drizzle, Robby Ginepri of Kennesaw, Ga., pulled off quite a victory, upsetting 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, to give the United States one man in the fourth round.
"Obviously, you want as many Americans in the tournament as you can," Ginepri said. "But if I'm the last man standing, you know, so be it."
His run at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament is really rather unlikely, and not just because he had to beat two seeded players along the way.
Consider: Ginepri doesn't have a coach, is ranked 98th, and hadn't won a main-draw match on clay this year before arriving at the French Open. Before his 3-0 streak over the past week, Ginepri's record was 1-7 in all tour-level matches this season.
Then there was No. 6 Roddick losing, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, to 114th-ranked qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia, and acknowledging: "I got outplayed from the first ball."
Roddick's exit came at roughly the same time as that of his frequent U.S. Davis Cup teammates Bob and Mike Bryan, who were seeking their record-breaking 62nd career doubles title but lost in straight sets in the second round to unseeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.
The one, real stop-the-presses moment came in the opening match when Williams felt ill and went from dominant to ordinary, falling behind 5-0 in the second set against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a Russian teen seeded 29th. Williams managed to grind out the 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 win.