By MICHAEL MAROT
|Robby Ginepri celebrates his win over Karol Beck in the semifinals of the RCA Championships© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images|
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Robby Ginepri came to the RCA Championships trying to jump start his career. Now he's on the verge of winning his second career title.
On Saturday, the unseeded Georgia native followed the same plan that helped him upset two-time defending tournament champion Andy Roddick -- stay calm, serve well and fight back. Ginepri rallied from a one-set deficit for the second straight day, this time taking out 10th-seeded Karol Beck 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
"I was really pleased with my will to fight today,'' Ginepri said. "After a big win last night and being down a set, I was just trying to stay positive. Good things happen when I stay positive.''
Ginepri hasn't been in an ATP final since winning at Newport, R.I., in 2003.
To earn another crown, Ginepri now must beat American Taylor Dent, the fourth seed, who defeated Great Britain's Greg Rusedski 6-4, 6-4 in 71 minutes. It's the first time Americans have met in an ATP final since February 2004 and the first time that's happened in Indianapolis since Pete Sampras defeated Jim Courier in 1992.
But no unseeded player has ever won the title in Indianapolis.
Ginepri hopes to change that after a week full of surprises.
He's already beaten four of the top 10 seeds -- Beck, Roddick, No. 8 Vincent Spadea and No. 9 Paradorn Srichaphan. The wins over Roddick and Beck, who is from the Slovakia, were firsts for Ginepri.
Dent, a hard-serving 24-year-old, has four career titles but none since 2003 and realizes Ginepri is playing like a champion.
"Robby's too good a player to stay in the form he was in for too long,'' Dent said. "It was just a matter of time before he got his confidence back.''
Ginepri won the service battle against Beck -- getting 65 percent of his first serves in compared with 54 percent by Beck, committed just one double fault and won 60 percent of the points on his second serve.
Still, the match didn't follow Ginepri's script.
Beck dominated early, forcing Ginepri to move around more and lunge at shots on a warm day. Rain forced a 53-minute delay just 21 minutes into the match.
Early in the second set, Ginepri turned things around. He got his first service break in the fifth game, courtesy of Beck's unforced error. Ginepri followed that by winning the longest game of the match, winning on his sixth game point when Beck's shot sailed long. He broke Beck again and closed out the set by staying on serve.
Ginepri took control late in the third set. Tied at 3, Beck began wearing down. He opened the critical seventh game with a double fault and lost another point when the ball hit the tape and dropped down on his side of the net. It ended when Beck double faulted again.
"There was only one game where I served very bad,'' Beck said. "It was a bad game for me and he took it.''
Ginepri didn't lose again.
He won all four points in his next service game, then closed out the match with another service break when Beck's backhanded drop shot landed in the net.
Things weren't nearly so difficult for Dent.
He broke Rusedski, the seventh seed, midway through the first set and again in the fifth game of the second set. Dent never lost serve, taking advantage of a weary Rusedski who had marathon matches throughout the tournament.
"Taylor was obviously playing well and that makes a big difference in this heat and humidity,'' said Rusedski, the 2002 RCA champion. "He played well, he served well and I just didn't move well.''
Now Dent faces a different kind of battle.
Rather than the hard-serving style that made easy work of Rusedski -- and most of his other opponents this week -- Dent expects longer volleys and a stronger return game from Ginepri.
Dent has won three of the four previous meetings, including earlier this year in Adelaide, Australia.
"I don't think one showing is going to make a huge impact,'' Dent said. "This has to happen a few times to spark a huge interest, but it's good and it's what Americans want to see.''