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Gimelstob's Play Serves Notice

July 27, 2002|Lauren Peterson

Justin Gimelstob is making a comeback in more ways than one this week at the Mercedes-Benz Cup at UCLA.

Gimelstob, who played two seasons of college tennis for the Bruins, has made himself at home in the doubles tournament at L.A., where he will make his third consecutive appearance in the semifinals today.

He and Michael Llodra of France will face cousins Prakash and Stephen Amritraj tonight after upsetting top-seeded Don Johnson and Jared Palmer, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7), in Thursday's quarterfinals.

In the victory, Gimelstob and Llodra rallied and then held off four match points.

"It was exciting, good to beat one of the best doubles team in the world," Gimelstob said.

Coming back from injuries that have plagued him for the last 2 1/2 years has made it particularly satisfying.

Gimelstob said he is finally playing pain-free after being bothered by a herniated disk in his lower back and strained ligaments in his left ankle. His bad back has benefited from a yoga regimen that has given him added strength and flexibility. The ankle also has been healed by a combination of rest and rehabilitative exercises.

"It took a lot of pain," Gimelstob said. "It was really hard, but challenging too, and hopefully all the work will start paying off."

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