Chang Crushes Arias, McEnroe Wins at Seniors Arizona

Posted on October 22, 2010

Michael Chang made a successful return to the Champions Series tennis circuit Thursday night, defeating Jimmy Arias 6-0, 6-2 in his opening round-robin match at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex. John McEnroe was also a winner Thursday night in his opening round-robin match defeating Wayne Ferreira 6-4, 7-6(2).

Chang was playing in his first Champions Series event since an injury at the 2006 Champions Series event in Naples, Fla. After leading Mikael Pernfors 6-0, 5-0 in his second round-robin match of the event, Chang lost two games in a row then ruptured his Achilles tendon, forcing him to lose the match 0-6, 2-5, ret., and be sidelined from competitive tennis for an extended period.

Thursday night against Arias, Chang displayed the lethal groundstrokes and tenacity that earned him the world No. 2 ranking and 34 career ATP singles titles. He streaked through the first set without losing a game before surrendering the first game of the second set. After Arias led 2-1 in the second set, Chang then won the last five games of the match.

"I felt pretty good today," said Chang. "The conditions were perfect and there was not a whole lot to complain about tonight. By the end of the first set, I had my forehand going pretty good."

Chang moved around the court with relative ease, but his 2006 injury has forced him to slightly alter his style of play.

"I've learned from my injuries," said Chang. "I'm not going to be able to track down every ball that I had in the past. I've gotta play smart and take advantage of my strengths."

McEnroe displayed some remarkable shot-making in his win over Ferreira, dazzling fans with some spectacular half volleys, serves and volley winners. After taking the first set 6-4, McEnroe became flustered early in the second set -- receiving two code of conduct violations -- as Ferreira raised his level of play and led 3-1. McEnroe broke back in the eighth game of the second set and went on clinch the victory in the second-set tie-breaker.

Friday's play is highlighted by Mark Philippoussis taking on Arias in the opening day match at 2 p.m., followed by Chang against Aaron Krickstein. The night session starting at 7 p.m. will feature Jim Courier taking on Ferreira and McEnroe taking on Jeff Tarango.

"I know Michael (Chang's) game pretty well," said Krickstein. "I actually did pretty well against him. It'll be a different match than this one, with longer rallies, not just walking side-to-side on serves. It should be fun."