Posted on 24 February 2010
The finals of the ATP Champions Tour were contested Tuesday night at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center between Australian Patrick Rafter and American tennis legend John McEnroe. The meeting between the two former majors winners was expected to be a display of serve and volley, both delivered. Rafter prevailed over McEnroe 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-1) in two highly competitive sets.
Although the ATP Champions Tour has been in existence since 1997, the four day event in Delray marked the Champions Tour’s inaugural stop on U.S. soil. McEnroe qualified for the finals by going undefeated in Group A (3-0) highlighted by wins over Mats Wilander and Andres Gomez. Despite losing to Ronald Agenor, in Group B, Rafter advanced by beating Aaron Krickstein and Pat Cash.
Rafter was favored in the final in light of his age. However, McEnroe held his own in the match. The difference was Rafter’s ability to raise his game level in the tiebreakers. McEnroe would later concede during the trophy ceremony that Rafter was “too good.” Also, McEnroe jokingly said that Rafter is “younger, faster, and better-looking than me.” The win places Rafter at the top of the rankings of The Champions Tour. The Champions tour moves next to Zurich on March 9.
Turning to the ATP Tour’s main draw, top seed Tommy Haas was upset on Monday night by Teimuraz Gabashvilli in straight sets. Despite dropping a set to Nicolas Lapentti, Evgeny Korolev, last year’s finalist, advanced. Mardy Fish, the 2009 champion, moved on when Christophe Rochus retired at 3 all in the third set. Second seed Ivo Karlovic ousted Philipp Petzschner while Kie Nishikori, 2008 champion, fell to third seed Benjamin Becker .
Posted on 01 March 2009
At the International Tennis Championship, being seeded number one has always been a malediction. But today, American Mardy Fish dispelled that curse by becoming the first top seed to win in Delray. Fish prevailed over 21 year-old Russian qualifier Evgeny Korolev 7-5, 6-3 for his third career title.
In this match, the weather was a significant part of the story. While the swirling wind contributed to Fish’s tentative play, Korolev did not modify his game plan and went for his shots. After Fish held serve, Korolev had a love service game to start his first ATP final. Then, the Russian put away a forehand crosscourt winner for deuce. Mardy countered with a forehand winner for game point. But, Fish could not control his next forehand. Play was interrupted at deuce by rain.
When the players returned, Korolev reached break point and converted for a 2-1 lead. The Russian’s advantage faded when with crosscourt unforced errors on the backhand and forehand side, Korolev allowed Fish to break back. However, in the subsequent game, on his third break try, Korolev crushed a backhand return which resulted in an error from Fish giving the Russian the lead again for 3-2. After Korolev consolidated with a love game, he hit a forehand down the line winner for break point, now a double break advantage was at stake. But, Fish pulled out the game with a few good serves. After his third love game for 5-3, in a 15-40 game, Korolev made a sensational backhand dropshot to get to deuce. Again, with a couple of unforced errors by Korolev, Fish was let off the hook. After connecting on a forehand down the line winner to begin serving out the set, Korolev made three consecutive unforced errors to face double break point. With a bold backhand dropshot winner and a backhand down the line error from Fish, Korolev got to deuce. However, when Korolev failed with another dropshot, Fish had an advantage point. Then, Evgeny netted a forehand volley to equalize the set at 5-5. After escaping with a hold with a forehand volley winner, aided by his rival, Fish arrived at triple break point. When Korolev misfired on the forehand, Fish pocketed the first set.
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Posted on 23 February 2009
With the qualification rounds completed, the main draw for the the International Tennis Championships (ITC) in Delray Beach has been finalized.
Making their way into the main draw after three qualifying rounds are Canadian Frank Dancevic, Russian Evgeny Korolev, and Americans Ryan Sweeting and Taylor Dent. Dent, a wild card entry, pulled off a mini-upset by knocking out five time ITC finalist and winner in 2005 and 2007 Xavier Malisse in the second round of qualifications.
Topping the draw are Americans Marty Fish and Sam Querrey, seeded one and two respectively. Querrey, last year’s semifinalist, was added as a wild card entry. Also accepting a wild card into the main draw is the 1999 ITC winner and two time major champion Lleyton Hewitt.
For a complete listing of the 2009 Delray Beach ITC main draw click here to visit the tournament’s official web page.