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Leconte Beats Borg, McEnroe Next
Posted on November 8, 2007
Henri Leconte received full reward for the intense training he has been doing lately by squeezing past Bjorn Borg in a third set Champions' Tie-Break on day one of the BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Liege.
The Frenchman, who reached the final of the year's opener in Belfast, won 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 (Champions' Tie-break) and will now meet John McEnroe in what is sure to be a tense match at the Panasonic Legends Cup on Friday.
"Bjorn was playing well," said Leconte. "He was serving and returning well. Then I played a bit better in the second set, serving well and played a good tie-break. It was a good match, I enjoyed it.
"It always something special playing Bjorn, I have such respect for him. He's just the biggest. It's always difficult staying concentrated playing good tennis against him. You have to play your best tennis to win."
McEnroe and Leconte have played each other three times this year, with Leconte winning two of them and McEnroe taking the most recent encounter in Eindhoven last month.
Invariably, Leconte brings out the best and worst in McEnroe.
"He's really dangerous and unpredictable," said McEnroe, who defeated Mansour Bahrami 6-3, 6-3 on the opening day.
"I've played him so many times. I know that I'm not sure what is going to happen. That's the one thing I am sure of! I have to keep my focus."
The American has yet to reach a final this on the BlackRock Tour of Champions, and is determined to put that right in his penultimate event of the year. He will play Leconte on Friday and then Borg on Saturday in a match that is already whipping the people of Liege into a frenzy of excitement
"I've been having trouble peaking the last couple of days [of the events], and that's so important, obviously," said McEnroe.
"I'm psyched to play Bjorn on Saturday and I'm hoping to propel that into the end of the event. It's been a while since I've been [in contention] at the end of the events. I'm really going to try and hopefully peak for the last two days."
Elsewhere, Eindhoven finalist Paul Haarhuis defeated Belfast champion Anders Jarryd 6-3, 7-6(2), while Sweden's Magnus Gustafsson overcame Guy Forget 3-6, 7-6(4), 10-5 (Champions' Tie-break) even though the Frenchman held his serve throughout.
All players will play each other over the first three days, and the players finishing top of each group will meet each other in the final. Those finishing second in each group will contest the 3rd/4th place play-off.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions' Tie-break (first two 10 points with a clear advantage of two) the winner.
After Liege, the tour will move on next week to the Champions Trophy in Frankfurt (November 15-18), then a new event in Sao Paulo, Brazil (November 22-25) before arriving in London for the BlackRock Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall (December 4-9).
Borg will play at all of those events.
Borg and McEnroe have also renewed their rivalry in a hilarious commercial for the Tesco supermarket. To view the commercial, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwkpYD-_vrk
RESULTS - THURSDAY, 8 NOVEMBER, 2007
Paul Haarhuis d Anders Jarryd 6-3, 7-6(2)
Magnus Gustafsson d Guy Forget 3-6, 7-6(4), 10-5 (Champions' Tie-break)
John McEnroe d Mansour Bahrami 6-3, 6-3
Henri Leconte d Bjorn Borg 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 (Champions' Tie-break)
SCHEDULE - FRIDAY, 9 NOVEMBER, 2007
17.00 - Magnus Gustafsson vs Anders Jarryd
18.30 - Guy Forget vs Paul Haarhuis
20.00 - John McEnroe vs Henri Leconte
21.30 - Bjorn Borg vs Mansour Bahrami