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Roddick-slayer Muller is ousted

Argentina's Guillermo Coria reacts Thursday during his match against Vincent Spadea of the U.S. Coria won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Argentina's Guillermo Coria reacts Thursday during his match against Vincent Spadea of the U.S. Coria won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Richard Drew, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Now it's Gilles Muller wondering where his mojo went.

Two days after his stunning upset of Andy Roddick, Muller was back to looking like the best player in Luxembourg in a 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 loss to doubles partner Robby Ginepri at the U.S. Open on Thursday. The match was over in 80 minutes, barely long enough for Muller to absorb how quickly his fortunes had changed.

"I think it was too much for me," Muller admitted. "I played great against Andy but today I played — of course I played worse, but it wasn't the tennis. I think it was something in the head. I have to learn how to deal with this thing, with these kind of moments."

Andre Agassi got a tough test from 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic, going to tiebreakers in each set of the 2 1/2-hour match. Agassi won 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) for his 73rd victory at the Open, tying him with Ivan Lendl for second-place on the Open-era all-time wins list.

"Listen to that," Agassi said as the standing crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium cheered his victory. "How does that get old? Thanks guys."

In women's matches, No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 6 Elena Dementieva, No. 7 Justine Henin-Hardenne, No. 12 Mary Pierce, No. 13 Anastasia Myskina, No. 15 Nathalie Dechy, No. 17 Jelena Jankovic, No. 19 Elena Likhovtseva, No. 23 Tatiana Golovin and No. 24 Shinobu Asagoe all won in straight sets.

Gustavo Kuerten's bid to win his second Grand Slam match in 15 months ended with a 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 loss to 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo. American wild-card Brian Baker was beaten by Xavier Malisse 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.

American James Blake and Amelie Mauresmo, seeded third in the women's draw, were to highlight the evening session.

Roddick is the top-ranked American man and an Open winner two years ago, and he was the poster boy for this year's event. American Express plastered his face all over New York with an ad campaign asking if people had seen his mojo, and he's still showing up in ads in local newspapers.

But Muller shocked him — and everybody else at the Open — with a straight-set victory on center court Tuesday night. Roddick was still dazed an hour after the match, and the upset was the talk of the tournament Wednesday.

Muller, whose No. 68 ranking is the highest by a man from Luxembourg, was inundated with phone calls. Coupled with having to play doubles with Ginepri on Wednesday (they lost), he barely had time to rest or recover.

"It's nice when you come to the club the next day and people are screaming all day, 'Muller' here, 'Muller' there," he said. "But I wasn't ready for that."

It showed when he took the court Thursday. Unlike Tuesday night, when he made nice touches with his angled groundstrokes and kept Roddick off-balance with surprising deftness, he simply looked lost against Ginepri.

He sprayed the ball all over the court and duffed the surest of shots. He made 39 errors to Ginepri's eight, and won only 58 percent of his first-serve points. He had a measly four break-point chances the entire match, and didn't convert one of them.

Ginepri, meanwhile, broke Muller in six of the 10 chances he got.

"Coming into the match, I didn't think (a rout) would be the case," Ginepri said. "But as the match was progressing, I felt if I just held serve and kept making my shots, then good things would happen. And it did."

During one second-set changeover, Muller sat with his face buried in a towel, utterly beaten.

"He played great. He returned every ball I served," Muller said. "Then finally I got more tense and more tense. Then I was scared."

He mustered some fight in the third set, rallying from being down 3-1. But having already broken Muller, Ginepri only had to hold his serve for the win.

"I cannot only say that I played bad. He made me play bad, also," Muller said. "He was returning so many balls, and Roddick didn't return them. He was running to every ball, so I think you have to give him lots of credit for what he did today."

What he's been doing for most of the summer, actually. At 22, Ginepri is establishing himself as the next American man to watch. He's 17-4 since a first-round loss at Wimbledon, and he beat Roddick in the quarterfinals on the way to winning his second career title at Indianapolis.

He also beat Australian Open champ Marat Safin in the quarters at Cincinnati before losing to No. 1 Roger Federer.

"It's exciting," Ginepri said. "I've been waiting to play like this for a while. I knew I had it inside me, and I'm just letting it come out now."

Henin-Hardenne is normally a perfectionist, but her game didn't have its typical crispness or precision Thursday. She double-faulted on the first point of the match and did it again on break point, allowing Sanchez Lorenzo to go up 1-0.

By the time the first set ended, Henin-Hardenne had four double-faults — double her total from her first match. She finished the match with eight double-faults, and had only two aces.

She got 53 percent of her first serves in, and converted only four of her 11 break-point chances. She had 27 winners to Sanchez Lorenzo's four, but also made 22 unforced errors.

"The conditions were pretty difficult. It's windy, so you have to stay aggressive all the time," Henin-Hardenne said. "When my first serve is in, I win a lot of points. So I need to be very focused on that, and I'm sure I'll serve better — I hope, next match."