Journeyman upsets Olympic champ

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2005

WIMBLEDON, England — Justin Gimelstob keeps falling into what he calls tennis ''oblivion,'' losing more than he wins, dealing with injuries, then doing whatever it takes to get back on the scene, whether it's crisscrossing the globe for minor events to raise his ranking or taking a dangerous number of painkilling injections.

A week after quitting during a qualifying match because of a bad back, then getting into the main draw when someone pulled out, Gimelstob knocked off Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (0) at Wimbledon on Wednesday to set up a third-round match against 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt.

''He plays with a lot of passion out there,'' Hewitt said. ''He's a guy that's always going to leave everything out on the court.''

Nine U.S. men entered the tournament, and after three days, just a trio is left — with the 123rd-ranked Gimelstob the unlikeliest. Taylor Dent, seeded 24th, beat countryman Kevin Kim 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 Wednesday to reach the third round, while No. 2 Andy Roddick faces Daniele Bracciali of Italy in a second-round match Thursday.

Since turning pro in 1996 after winning the NCAA doubles title in his lone season at UCLA, Gimelstob has a .394 winning percentage, zero tour singles titles (but 12 in doubles), and zero trips past the third round at a Grand Slam. He's had a litany of physical problems, including a broken foot that sidelined him for seven months in 2003-04, dropping his ranking below 200.

''It's a struggle,'' the 28-year-old native of Livingston, N.J., said. ''You fight your way all the way back. You really find out how much you want it.''

No. 29 Massu was one of three seeded men who lost. No. 22 Dominik Hrbaty was beaten by 18-year-old Gael Monfils, who won three junior Slams in 2004, and No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko, a French Open semifinalist, retired with a right wrist injury.

Hewitt beat Jan Hernych 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, Roger Federer extended his Wimbledon winning streak to 16 matches with a straight-set victory over Ivo Minar, and two-time major winner Marat Safin got past 2003 Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 in a match interrupted when the Centre Court net suddenly collapsed.

No seeded women lost, with No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo and No. 15 Kim Clijsters advancing in straight sets.

Three top Russians struggled, though: U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina topped Aiko Nakamura, and two-time Slam finalist Elena Dementieva double-faulted 17 times but defeated Sabine Klaschka 2-6, 6-3, 8-6.

A fourth Russian, No. 30 Dinara Safina, eliminated Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-2 and will face Davenport. It's the first trip to Wimbledon's third round for Safina, the younger sister of Safin.

Big Bro' never liked playing on grass, not from the first time he stepped on the stuff at the All England Club as a wild card in 1998, and he vowed after last year's first-round exit that he was through trying to succeed here. He's not quite ready to pre got off the trail. When they left, he got back on the trail,'' Jody Hawkins said. ''His biggest fear, he told me, was that someone would steal him.''

It is unclear if that delayed his rescue.

Brennan defied conventional wisdom during his time in the mountains: He went uphill instead of down, while ''typically children walk downhill, along the least path of resistance,'' Sheriff Dave Edmunds said. As a result, search crews ended up in the wrong area.

Brennan's mother said he believes he was gone only one or two nights, and doesn't remember even going camping or much else, because ''most of it was a blur to him.''

''It's going to take a while to get everything out,'' Toby Hawkins said. ''This is how he approaches all situations.''

The couple said their son was born prematurely, and they described him as immature and a little slow, but not mentally disabled.

''Brennan continues to amaze us,'' Toby Hawkins said. ''I thought that he was the most ill-prepared out of our five children to deal with it, and now I think he was maybe the best prepared.''

Brennan had hiked more than five miles into the mountains to the spot where searcher Forrest Nunley found him Tuesday.

''I turned a corner and there was a kid standing in the middle of the trail. He was all muddy and wet,'' said Nunley, who dialed 911 on his cell phone and said he was lucky to find a signal.

''He was a little delirious. I sat him down and gave him a little food,'' Nunley said.

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