PARIS — After Ireland’s Louk Soresen made a mini-splash at the Aussie Open, we noticed his neck was pretty modest so we did a little free-form piece on necks. Elena Dementieva has long one, James Blake broke his, Peter Rennert and Ricky Mayer are the two best players from Great Neck New York, etc. If we had just waited a bit we could have added Robby Ginipri who had a major neck procedure early this year. For two years the Kennesaw, Georgia resident had a pain in his neck. He couldn’t move it to one side so he decided to undergo a procedure in Atlanta which burned down two of his nerves.
Going into the French Open Robbie’s prospects weren’t exactly rosy. Yeah, he’d reached the final of a challenger but, for the whole season, had only one ATP circuit win in his holster. Plus, the guy was the last one to get into the tournament.
But he wasted little time. He first subdued his fellow American Sam Querrey with so many body blows that the likeable American pulled a stunning “No Mas” tank job and skipped town. Then Ginepri brought down Italian power baseliner Potito Storace. But the sages said beating — the Spanish clay court whiz and former RG champion – was something that definitely was NOT in this guy’s neck of the woods.
But no matter, the 27-year-old veteran, famous for his stunning run to the ’05 U.S. Open semis, played with belief and fire, grinding to a two set lead. He then dropped the next two and scored an early break in the fifth which enabled him to score an impressive 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4 win.
Afterward, he recalled how Andre Agassi used to out-tough his foes and take their legs out. Indeed, the beaten and despondent Ferrero openly admitted his fatique and frustration.
Ginepri’s fellow Georgians may not be celebrating in glee tonight on Atlanta’s Peachtree St. But who would have thunk it? With Andy Roddick, John Isner, Querrey and them Bryan Bros. having crashed out, Robbie G. is the last standing American man in Paris – by a neck.
He’s got to be chuckling. Now all he has to do now to reach the quarters is beat a guy named Novak Djokovic – no joke.