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Newport Philippoussis Beats Pernfors In “Comfortable” Newport

NEWPORT, R.I., August 21 – Playing in his fourth career Outback Champions Series event, Philippoussis co-incidentally last captured a tournament title on the International Tennis Hall of Fame grounds back in 2006 when he won the ATP Tour’s Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships, his 11th career ATP title.

“It feels nice to be back in Newport,” said Philippoussis. “I had a great experience and a memorable week here in 2006. Everything feels so comfortable because it’s absolutely gorgeous here. You can mill around. The town is very easy on the eyes. It’s a great little tournament. You hit some balls, play matches, and it just feels very laid back and obviously winning here was even nicer.”

Since his ATP win in Newport, Philippoussis, 32, has struggled with knee injuries that has kept him on and off the ATP Tour and the Outback Champions Series circuit. He last played against ATP level competition at the 2007 Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth, Australia. Following knee surgery in early 2007, Philippoussis returned to competitive tournament tennis at the Outback Champions Series event in Dallas in 2007, losing the third-place match to John McEnroe. Earlier this year, he competed in Outback Champions Series events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he finished with a 1-2 round-robin record, and in Grand Cayman, where he reached the semifinals losing to Jim Courier.

Nick-named “Scud” for his missile-like velocity of his first serve, the 2003 Wimbledon finalist and former world No. 8 struggled at times with his serve against Pernfors as a brisk breeze from the Atlantic Ocean descended upon the Hall of Fame complex. The Scud’s deliveries, however, were enough to cause Pernfors to offer a “just get out of the way” defense of how you handle the Australian’s rocket first serve.

“It was a good serve day except for that one game (at 4-3 in the second set) where I had like nine double faults and ten aces,” said Philippoussis. “It kept him guessing.”

Cash, the defending champion who beat Jim Courier in last year’s final, rallied from a 1-4 first-set deficit against Wilander in a re-match of the 1988 Australian Open final, won by Wilander in five sets. Cash said he is looking forward to his match Saturday with Philippoussis, a player he coached during a short stint just over 10 years ago.

In the other men’s semifinal Saturday, 2007 Hall of Fame Champions Cup winner Todd Martin will face Courier, the current No. 1 ranked player on the Outback Champions Series.

The matches on Friday were played 109 years to the day on the same court as the men’s singles final of the 1900 U.S. Championships (the modern day U.S. Open) when Malcolm Whitman defeated fellow American Bill Larned 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Ticket information for the weekend’s matches can be found at www.TennisFame.com. The remaining schedule of play is as follows;

Saturday, August 22nd – 1pm
Singles Semifinal – Martin vs. Courier
Followed by Doubles Exhibition
Followed by Singles Semifinal – Philippoussis vs. Cash winner

Sunday, August 23rd – 1pm
Championship Match
Followed by
3rd Place Match

Pete 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).

Courier leads the current Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series entering Newport with 2000 points, followed by Sampras with 1600 points and McEnroe with 1300 points. Arias sits at a career-high No. 4 Outback Champions Series ranking with 1050 points, followed by Cash with 700 points at No. 5 and Philippoussis at No. 6 with 600 points. Wilander, Pernfors and Patrick Rafter are tied at No. 7 with 500 points, while Martin rounds out the top 10 with 400 points.

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.