STATOIL MASTERS TENNIS
Bruguera Thwarts McEnroe
Sergi Bruguera, the new coach of Richard Gasquet, put John McEnroe’s final bid on hold at the Statoil Masters Tennis on Friday evening at the Royal Albert Hall, beating the seven-time Grand Slam champion 7-6(3), 3-6, 10-7 in Group A.
After narrowly losing out on the first set, which Bruguera won courtesy of piercing return play in the tie-break, McEnroe fought hard to come back in the second set. After Bruguera received medical attention on his left leg at 3-2, McEnroe reeled off three of the next four games to force a deciding Match Tie-break.
Bruguera gritted his teeth in the decider, though. The Spaniard hauled himself into an 8-6 lead and benefitted from a McEnroe double fault to earn three match points. He converted his second in one hour and 41 minutes.
“I fought my heart out,” said McEnroe. “I gave everything I had, but he played well. I thought when he got injured that I had it. I tried to hit some more drop shots to really make it hurt, but it didn't quite work out. I really wanted to kick his you-know-what, but he's a great player and I just couldn't quite get over the line.”
Bruguera said, “It was fun, close, very nice points, and we both played a great match. It was very serious, we were both concentrating to win, and we tried to play our best. I hurt my hamstring. The movement is very different here to where I have been practising on clay, you have to be very low all the time.”
Bruguera, a two-time former winner at Roland Garros, will advance to the final if he beats Wayne Ferreira on Saturday. Should Ferreira win, McEnroe will contest the final against Mats Wilander.