Tennis News Wire -
THE GRAND CHAMPIONS BRAZIL
SOCIEDADE HARMONIA DE TENIS, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
10-13 MAY 2012
PHILIPPOUSSIS TO FACE SANTORO IN SAO PAULO FINAL
Mark Philippoussis blasted his way into the finals of the Grand Champions Brazil in Sao Paulo on Saturday with a resounding 6-4, 6-1 victory over Swede Thomas Enqvist. Sunday’s final between Philippoussis and Frenchman Fabrice Santoro will be a rematch of the pair’s 3rd/4th play-off clash in Medellin last week, in which Santoro emerged victorious.
Philippoussis will be gunning for a first ATP Champions Tour title of 2012 when he takes on ‘The Little Magician’ on Sunday afternoon at the Sociedade Harmonia de Tenis. In 2011, the Australian finished runner-up to Carlos Moya in the South African Airways Rankings, so collecting 400 points in Sao Paulo would go a long way to help him close the gap on the Spaniard, who once again has a healthy rankings lead in 2012.
“It feels good,” Philippoussis said of reaching his first ATP Champions Tour final of 2012. “I felt like in Zurich I played good tennis and just played a bad couple of games against Stefan (Edberg), then last week in Medellin was tough at altitude but I am really relaxed here this week, I’ve had a lot of fun and I feel like each match I’ve played better and better.”
When the duo met in Medellin last week it was Santoro’s agile retrieval skills and brilliant shot-making ability that gave him the edge over the hard-hitting Philippoussis. On the red clay of Sao Paulo though, 2003 Wimbledon finalist Philippoussis is hoping it will be a different story.
“I’m going to have to be more aggressive I think,” he said. “I can’t just sit back and rally against him and play his game or else it’s not going to be a fun day for me. Fabrice is a tough opponent because he’s so tricky with the way he hits the ball. You can’t really prepare to play him. He’s so crafty without having any major weapons, and he’s still moving so well. So it’ll be tough tomorrow to play against him on clay because he’s going to get a lot of balls back.”
In Saturday’s first match, Flavio Saretta gave the Brazilian crowd something to cheer about after securing qualification for Sunday’s 3rd/4th Play-Off match with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of two-time Roland Garros Champion Sergi Bruguera. He now faces Enqvist.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner. After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday's final.
To view the round-robin groups and the order of play for the week in Sao Paulo, go to results.
After Sao Paulo, The ATP Champions Tour resumes in Knokke-Heist, Belgium for the third annual Optima Open (August 16-19) where the line-up includes John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Goran Ivanisevic and Carlos Moya.
RESULTS - Saturday May 12th, 2012
Flavio Saretta d. Sergi Bruguera 6-4, 6-4
Mark Philippoussis d, Thomas Enqvist 6-4, 6-1
Sunday 13th May
09:30 - 3rd/4th Place Play Off - Flavio Saretta vs. Thomas Enqvist
11:00 - Final - Fabrice Santoro vs. Mark Philippoussis
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
Matches won/lost (sets)
Mark Philippoussis 2-0 (4-0)
Thomas Enqvist 1-1 (2-2)
Mariano Puerta 0-2 (0-4)
Fabrice Santoro 2-0 (4-0)
Flavio Saretta 1-1 (2-2)
Sergi Bruguera 0-2 (0-4)