Greg Rusedski completed the perfect week in Chengdu, China, winning the ATP Champions Tour event with an emphatic 6-4, 6-2 victory over Pete Sampras in the final on Sunday. Rusedski, who only discovered that he would be playing in the tournament last weekend after Michael Stich pulled out with an injury, was in imperious form throughout.
“I’m really happy to win against a great champion like Pete Sampras,” said Rusedski after the match. “I’m very pleased. I had not played a lot of tennis coming into the event. I played really well this week. I surprised myself how well I played.”
After becoming only the second man to inflict a defeat on Thomas Enqvist since the Swede joined the circuit 28 matches earlier, Rusedski overwhelmed the 14-time Grand Slam champion in the final. He won the first set 6-4 and after breaking for 3-0 in the second, the players were taken off the court because of rain. Rusedski eventually served out the match to comfortably win the final, and his second ATP Champions Tour title.
“Greg beat me fair and square today,” Sampras said. “We both had to be a bit careful out there at the end because of the rain but Greg still managed a serve at 140 mph, so all credit to him. I’m still pleased with how I’ve played here in Chengdu and I hope to come back next year.”
Rusedski was 1-9 career versus Sampras during their ATP days.
Mark Philippoussis defeated Jim Courier 6-4, 6-1 Sunday to win the singles title at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at the Surprise Recreation Campus. He said following his victory over Courier that his goal is to return to play matches again on the ATP World Tour.
“I’ve just fallen back in love with the sport on the Champions Series,” said Philippoussis, who will turn 34 on Nov. 7. “It’s just great and since I’ve gotten that love back, my body has been getting stronger. I feel I can hit the ball just as hard as the guys on the tour, so why not give it a go if I’m having this much fun?”
Philippoussis last played on the ATP World Tour in 2006 and first played on the Champions Series in 2007 after recovering from right knee surgery. During his multi-year rehabilitations through his career, he has undergone six knee surgeries — three on the right knee and three on the left — but this year, he is finally beginning to feel at full strength.
“I needed a stepladder because his second serves were so high,” Courier said. “From the first second serve he hit I was lunging and trying to climb up the ladder to get the ball. Credit to Mark, he won this match and I didn’t lose it.”
Philippoussis acknowledged that some recent practice sessions with U.S. No. 1 Andy Roddick in Southern California helped him play at a high-level. “Roddick came to San Diego, where I live,” he said. “I hit with him while he was down there at La Jolla Beach & Racquet Club.”
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