anta

Courier and Cash Advance to Semifinals in Grand Cayman

GRAND CAYMAN, April 24, 2009 – Jim Courier opened up the defense of his Outback Champions Series title in the Cayman Islands Friday, defeating Mikael Pernfors of Sweden 6-3, 6-4 to advance into the semifinals of the $150,000 The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships. Also advancing with a quarterfinal win Friday in the eight-player event was Pat Cash of Australia, who defeated Karel Novacek of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4. The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships is the fourth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

Courier will face Mark Philippoussis of Australia in Saturday evening’s semifinal, while Cash will take on Jimmy Arias in the first semifinal in the afternoon session. Courier is looking to win for the second time in the second-year Outback Champions Series event and, like in 2008, use the clay-court event to kick start his Outback Champion Series season.

“I am here defending my honor and my title as last year’s champion but the task ahead will be a challenge, as anything worth doing tends to be,” wrote Courier in his blog on the Outback Champions Series website – linked here – http://m1e.net/c?97079246-HVhYO/dMh9KPk%404189130-9tRhGLCNPAfF%2e “(Winning in Grand Cayman in 2008) was the lift off for my season where I won here and then three more tournaments after a slow start. I am looking for the same thing here this year as I have had a bumpy start to my 2009 OCS campaign and am in need of a jump start.”

Courier finished the 2006 and 2008 Outback Champions Series campaigns as the No. 1 ranked player in the year-end standings, but has struggled so far in 2009. In the opening event in Boston in February, Courier injured his back in round-robin play against John McEnroe and finished in fourth place. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Courier continued to struggle with his form and health and lost to McEnroe in the championship match. In the third event of the year last month in Los Cabos, Mexico, Courier beat Mats Wilander in the third-place play-off after losing to Patrick Rafter in the semifinals. “Since Cabo I have been able to train hard on/off court once again and should be ready to make a serious run this week for the title” wrote Courier on his blog. “We’ll see if that’s enough. With the tough field, I’ll have to earn it if I’m going to hold the trophy again.”

Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, was spurred on to his win over Novacek by a group of vocal Australian fans – many donning Cash’s trademark checkerboard headbands. Cash was a late entry into the field after 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic was forced to withdraw when he was not sufficiently recovered from recent knee surgery to compete.

“I am just happy to be here,” said Cash of his late entry into the tournament. “A few days ago, I was sitting in cold London when I got the call. It’s a great opportunity to play in this tournament and to play here in Grand Cayman. It’s a wonderful event.”

The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships features a field of eight champion players competing in a single knock-out format event, vying for $150,000 in prize money and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1 on the Outback Champions Series. Ticket, travel and tournament information can be found by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com. In 2008, Courier won the inaugural event defeating Wayne Ferreira 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1) in the championship match.

The schedule of play for the remainder of the event is as follows;

Saturday, April 25
Starting 1 pm
Doubles featuring all four quarterfinalists
Pat Cash vs. Jimmy Arias

Starting at 6 pm
Doubles featuring all four quarterfinalists
Jim Courier vs. Mark Philippoussis

Sunday, April 26
Starting at 1 pm
Third Place Match
Championship Match

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating 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 Rafter in the final. Following Grand Cayman, Outback Champions Series events will be played in Newport, R.I. (August 20-23), 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 ranking points that will determine the year-end No. 1.

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 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.

About The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, The DeckHouses and Secret Harbour – Stretching sea to sea from the acclaimed Seven Mile Beach to the North Sound, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort has set a lavish new standard of living on the Caribbean’s most prosperous, cosmopolitan and safe island – Grand Cayman. Comprising The Residences, The DeckHouses and Secret Harbour, all anchored by the hotel itself, living at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort is distinguished by an unparalleled lifestyle experience enhanced with the unique Endless Service program, which includes a fleet of luxury automobiles and intrepid 36-foot motor yachts available for use when in residence. Owners also have access to the legendary service and amenities of the $600 million Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Resort.  For more information, please visit www.residences-cayman.com, www.thedeckhouses.com or www.findsecretharbour.com.

Kanepi peels Jankovic

kaia-kanepi-dubai09

Kaia Kanepi, wearing Australian by L’Alpina, claimed her first top-five scalp by taking out Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 7-5 in the third round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships; she’ll next face Elena Vesnina, who beat Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-1, 4-0 after the Slovakian retired because of the heat.

Jankovic attributed her loss to a bad performance. “This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors and could not put two balls together on the court. I didn’t move properly, and I didn’t see the ball properly,” she said.

“[Kanepi] didn’t have to do too much. Basically, I beat myself. I don’t know what happened out there. I am ashamed of this performance.”

Aww. What about some praise for your Estonian opponent?

jelena-jankovic-dubai09ajelena-jankovic-dubai09b

For this tourney, Jelena and ANTA switched back to their first dress silhouette, switching up the color from green to orange. And finally we got a look at her warmup jacket, with a pleated front and ruched cuffs. Does anyone have details on that red and white tote? Doesn’t look like her Bally bag to me…

Bonus round: Kanepi’s official website.

(images via Getty Images)