Cordish, off winging, falls in D.C. tennis But Gilman alumnus shrugs off defeat

THE BALTIMORE SUN

WASHINGTON -- Reed Cordish knew it wasn't going to be easy, playing in his first ATP Tour event. But the way things were going eased his mind. "Just sitting around all day, waiting for my match, the adrenalin was building and I was nearly jumping out of my skin. I came out smoking," he said.

Indeed. The recent Princeton graduate grabbed the first set from fellow qualifier Marcus Hilpert at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, 6-2, and twice was a point from a break in the second set.

"I love the feeling being aggressive, going for shots, but some of the balls I was making by an inch for the first half of the match went the other way," Cordish said.

The result was a setback, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, but that was a minor detail in the big picture in the mind of the former three-time Maryland Scholastic Association champion from Gilman.

"Maybe it was a case of my wanting it [victory] too much, if that's possible. But the fact is these last three days have been the biggest of my tennis life."

Wins Saturday and Sunday in the qualifying tournament put him into the main draw. Not bad for a guy getting his introduction to the ATP Tour.

"I learned some things the last couple of days. On the satellite tour [where he has competed since graduating], if I had come out smoking like that, the other guy would have folded. That's not going to happen here.

"But I knew that. Just like in anything else, it's going to be a process, a learning process. Nothing's going to get handed to you."

The way Cordish was crunching returns and whipping two-handed backhands past Hilpert early, the wonder is the German didn't request a change of venue. "But he's a good, patient player. He's had some successes lately," Cordish said.

Hilpert got the match going his way by pounding Cordish's forehand and changing the pace.

"I did the most running," Cordish said. "I tried to get in a groove and move him around more, but just couldn't do it. It's all experience.

"The computer points I pick up here, eight or nine, together with the 17 points I got on the satellite tour, I think will get me into one of the qualifiers in Los Angeles or Chicago next week."

Otherwise, it's back to the far-flung satellite tours, one of which is in action in the Far East, which is fine with Cordish. "It's all experience," he reiterated.

NOTES: In the featured night match, veteran Bryan Shelton defeated schoolboy Alex Kim, from Potomac, 7-6, 6-3. In today's featured match, No. 1 seed Michael Chang will play qualifier Luis Herrera at 7 p.m. Six former NCAA men's singles champions, including this year's champ, Luke Smith of Nevada-Las Vegas, are in the 56-man field. Others are Cecil Mamit, Southern California, 1996; Sargis Sargisian, Arizona State, 1995; Mark Merklein, Florida, 1994; Chris Woodruff, Tennessee, 1993; and Steve Bryan (Texas, 1990).

Bryan Shelton def. Alex Kim, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; Marzio Martelli def. Ivan Ljubicic, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5; Vince Spadea (14) def. Stephane Simian, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1; Neville Godwin (15) def. Gaston Etlis, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Gerard Solves def. Tommy Ho, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; Luis Herrera def. Jim Grabb, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5; Gianluca Pozzi def. Geoff Grant, 6-1, 6-4.

Luke Smith (Aus) def. Mahesh Bhupathi, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (9-7); Andrei Cherkasov def. Oren Motevassel, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 2-1 (ret.); Michael Joyce def. Steve Bryan, 6-1, 6-4; David Nainkin def. Kevin Ullyett, 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.

Ken Carlsen def. Cecil Mamit, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; David Wheaton def. Roberto Jabali, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3; Marcus Hilpert def. Reed Cordish, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; Fernon Wibier def. Max Mirnyi, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2); Andrej Merinov def. Eyal Ran, 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; David Scala def. Patrick McEnroe, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.

Pub Date: 7/15/97

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