Courier And Cash Advance To Repeat Final In Newport

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Jim Courier

Jim Courier

NEWPORT, R.I., August 22 – Jim Courier and Pat Cash advanced to the final of the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup Saturday by both winning semifinal matches in decisive Champions Tie-Breakers at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Courier defeated former U.S. Davis Cup teammate Todd Martin 6-1, 3-6, 13-11, while Cash, the defending champion, defeated fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis 3-6, 6-3, 10-4. Sunday’s final will be a repeat of the 2008 final in Newport when Cash defeated Courier 6-3, 6-4. The Hall of Fame Champions Cup is the fifth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

A Champions Tie-Breaker is a first-to-10-point tie-breaker played in lieu of a third set in Outback Champions Series events. Against Martin in the first semifinal, Courier jumped out a 6-2 lead in the Champions Tie-Breaker and held three match points leading 9-6. Martin, however, fought off the match points to tie the score at 9-9 and himself held a match point at 10-9. Courier then closed out the win on his fifth match point.

“I felt like I was in control early in the tie-break because I was 6-2 up,” said Courier. “Todd just hit some good shots. It wasn’t that I wasn’t expecting them I was just hoping that they wouldn’t happen, but they came and then I had 9-6, then Todd just hit three winners. Two forehand winners and a great serve up the middle and then I’m staring down the barrel of the gun…I sort of snuck it out.”

Courier will be seeking his first career grass court title against Cash in Sunday’s final. In addition to losing the 2008 Newport final to Cash, Courier was a singles finalist at Wimbledon in 1993, losing to Pete Sampras, in his only other professional grass court final-round appearance. Martin said that despite Courier being more noted for his baseline game that is more suited for clay or hard courts, his grass court game should receive more recognition and respect.

“I think Jim needs to remember that he’s one of the only guys here that’s been in the finals of Wimbledon,” said Martin, who won the Outback Champions Series title in Newport in 2007 and was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1994 and 1996. “A player’s a player. A tennis court is a tennis court, and there are some nuances one each surface. It just so happens that Jim’s slice backhand is very effective on the grass and he hit it very well today. But maybe more than anything else he serves great. It makes it really difficult to start winning points on my return.”

Cash, whose signature win of his career came when he won Wimbledon in 1987, is regarded as one of the best serve-and-volley players and grass court players in the last 30 years. Hall of Famer Mats Wilander, who lost to Cash in Friday’s quarterfinals, went as far to say after losing to Cash that the Australian’s volley is better than any player who is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“It suits my style,” said Cash of playing on grass courts. “I like to serve and volley. It’s good to get to the net and I think the grass helps that. If you can volley then you can win the point. On some of the hard courts and clay it’s incredibly hard to win the point with a good volley. It sort of just suits my style really.”

After losing the first set, Cash said he suddenly found his form that carried through winning the decisive Champions Tie-Breaker.

“I just got lucky,” conceded Cash of his win. “I really didn’t have much of a say on Mark’s serve. I didn’t quite pick it up in the first set. I struggled a little bit with my serve, with my rhythm. Then it just came together. I knew I’d make a few good returns and it just happened to come good in that one game. I just broke serve at about the same time I started serving well. Mark played better than me most of the match then all of a sudden I just went red-hot for ten or fifteen minutes there at the right time.”

Courier will be seeking his second Outback Champions Series title for the 2009 season after winning the title in Grand Cayman in April. Courier will also look to expand his lead in the Outback Champions Series singles rankings. Entering Newport, Courier has earned 2000 ranking points in 2009, 400 more than the No. 2-ranked Pete Sampras, who will be competing in the next schedule OCS event next month in Charlotte, N.C.

Cash’s win last year in Newport marked his one career tournament victory on the Outback Champions Series.

Ticket information for the Sunday final can be found at www.TennisFame.com. The remaining schedule of play is as follows;

Sunday, August 23rd – 1pm
Jim Courier vs. Pat Cash – Championship Match
Followed by
Todd Martin vs. Mark Philippoussis – 3rd Place Match

Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Jimmy Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, private corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

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