The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales on January 19, 1996 · Page 35
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales · Page 35

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Sydney, New South Wales
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Friday, January 19, 1996
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Page 35
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THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 1996 SPORT 33 TO Tl nHlfiQQltftTT0 A couch potato r lin a. day o as spitting chips SS . y "OH!." J Gerard Wright hatched. But in that single, naked moment, Rafter distilled the other side of tennis, the side the public only rarely gets to see, dazzled as it is by the spotlights and the dollar signs. The ranks of the men's seeds were thinned by one, with the four-set defeat of the 12th seed, Frenchman Arnaud Boetsch. The missing four seeds were almost joined by a mighty oak on court one, with Boris Becker pushed to the limit for his second five-setter in a row, by 20-year-old Swede Thomas Johansson, ranked No 114. In the company of Mary Pierce on the sidelines was women's fifth seed Kimiko Date, who lost in three sets to No 64-ranked Mana Endo. Goran Ivanisevic became the 10th and last men's seed into the third round with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 stroll over 126th-ranked Canadian qualifier Sebastien Lareau. Philippoussis and three other Australians will contest the third round. Sydney's Michael Teb-butt won in straight sets over Queensland qualifier Peter Tra-macchi, and Adelaide's Mark Woodforde took the shortest possible route past German Martin Sinner late yesterday. The other Australian, Todd Woodbridge, meets Courier on centre court tonight. Woodforde and Woodbridge, the Wimbledon and US Open doubles champions, lost to fellow-Australians Joshua Eagle and Andrew Florent after an 18-game third set which saw them save three match points in the 16th game. Rennae Stubbs fought off seven match points on centre court against the women's 10th seed, Lindsay Davenport, before losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. Tennis is a non-contact sport which can still reduce grown men to real tears, as Pete Sampras so movingly demonstrated during the quarter-final of last year's Open against Jim Courier. Its demands and its denials can also gouge the most resilient of spirits. As Pat Rafter found yesterday, it's not only the body that can hurt. Rafter was forced to default his second-round match with Colombian Mauricio Hadad after a wrist injury flared up. The match had spanned two sets at that point, with the score at the end of" each 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 suggesting that Hadad, a clay-courter ranked No 97 in the world, was drawing further and further ahead. Under ITF rules, Rafter's was regarded as a pre-existing injury, which meant he could not receive a three-minute injury time-out between games for it to be treated. Instead, he received pain-killers from a tournament trainer. They didn't work. At 2-2 in the third set, having matched Hadad point for point, he ran up the white flag. Rafter has played through pain before. It has forced him to concede points, and games, as happened in last year's Davis Cup first-round tie in Durban where, suffering the flu, extreme diarrhoea, a wrist injury and a broken toenail, he bounced a second serve straight in front of him to end a service game, before going on to win the match in four sets. But rarely, if ever, has he had to concede a match. On Monday night, he had defeated Chilean Marcelo Rios in straight sets with no more than the occasional twinge. On Tuesday, he was unable to pick tem, Muster can achieve the No 1 mantle for the first time in his career without beating either Sampras or Agassi at Flinders Park. How? Agassi's points earned at last year's Open will be discarded because the rankings are in a new 12-month period, so the American effectively had 4,079 points at the start of the tournament. Muster does not lose any points because last year's Open did not form part of his 14 best performances. Therefore, Agassi has to reach the last four to stay ahead of the Austrian. Similarly, Sampras will lose the points he won for reaching the 1995 Australian Open final and must reach the quarter-finals to stay ahead of Muster. The good news for Muster is that if all three players perform disastrously and the Open drops out of their best 14 results, he will become No 1. If the Austrian advances further than both Sampras and Agassi, he becomes No 1 ; if he beats Agassi or Sampras, he becomes No 1 ; and, as everyone understands, if he wins the tournament he becomes No 1. Bizarrely, Muster could become No 1 even if he sat in his hotel room for the remainder of the Open and watched on television the progress or lack of progress of his two main rivals. World No 3 Thomas Muster does not want to think about the possibility of becoming No 1 if he wins the Australian Open. More precisely, the permutations are so many and the points system so complex the Austrian is happy to let the mathematicians work it out. "There is a little chance to become No 1, but it is depending on Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, so I mean I really have to play well to overcome them in the rankings, and if they do well also," he tried to explain. Which is why the third seed concluded: "I think I would rather concentrate on my game." With the top five in the world still competing in the Open, the latest rankings, issued every fortnight by the ATP Tour, show Sampras on top with 4,842 points. Behind him on 4,765 is fellow American Agassi, and breathing down their necks is Muster on 4,474. Boris Becker and Michael Chang are well behind on 3,325 and 3,211 points respectively. The complicated rankings system awards points based on the importance of the event, progress through the tournament and the defeat of higher-ranked opponents. The player's 14 best performances over a 12-month period are tallied, with points in the four grand slam events now worth substantially more than they were last year. Under the convoluted sys AUSTRALIAN OPEN up a racquet. By Wednesday, he was fit enough to partner Mark Philippoussis to a first-round doubles win. On this day 12 months ago, Rafter was as hot as Andre Agassi. He was about to win a five -set thriller over South African Marcos Ondruska and joust with Andre on centre court. Problems with a wrist cartilage stayed with him until surgery in November as his ranking fell from No 21 to No 68. He now thinks he may have come back too soon after the operation and aggravated the condition. He had spoken softly and politely throughout his press conference until he was asked to sum up his feelings. "No, it's not anger; it's a real frustration," he said. "I guess it is quite sad as well." At that point, his voice caught, briefly. "I don't know; it's sort of hard to explain," he continued. And there he stopped, his head bowed, and the longish dark hair, still in rat tails from the shower, fell over and around his face. Just then, greater and lesser dramas were unfolding everywhere at Flinders Park. Seeds were being upset, partnerships dissolving, plots were being t " 1 is - . x---" . -,. - . .-: : : . -...mm -r ; ill : lit ' s ' I : .it llllt. Isiii:'.. . v ' f ..isS, -i. S.X.M.i,,:. -i hili's firepower OPEN SLATHER - QUOTES OF THE DAY "I finally understand how to play the game. People are showing me more respect and see how much harder I am working. They don't feel like it will be a walkover and that I won't roll over any more." - Australian Rennae Stubbs, who fell to 10th seed Lindsay Davenport. "I appreciate the wins a little more at my age." - 30-year-old Mark Woodforde after his second-round victory over German Martin Sinner. "Sometimes I wonder what on earth I'm doing on the court. But when I get to the bigger tournaments I can focus better." -Woodforde again. "For me, I'm between 25-30 on the rankings. I lose every week so most weeks I can handle the losses." -Woodforde on Stefan Edberg's loss on Wednesday, and the way Edberg's ranking has dropped. "Even if I had lost today I would be happy because I did my best. I lose to her so many times but I'm not losing in my life." -Japanese No 2 Mana Endo after her upset of fifth seed and compatriot Kimiko Date. too often a fizzer 4 ! Dazed and confused . . . defending champion Mary Pierce holds back tears as she comes to terms with her defeat yesterday at the hands of Russian Elena Likhovtseva. Photograph by BRUCE POSTLE Sport In Brief Jeff Wells MIL mm mmmm m Mam The game is full of people who bash their serves. Greg Rusedski bashes his flat serve at 220kmh but Boris Becker, beating him in five, said his kick serve was harder to handle. So even the best servers have to be able to get to their groundstrokes and even occasionally get to the net. Early, Philippoussis was lucky to get to his chair. People began leaving to watch the stricken Rafter getting beaten. There wasn't much joy watching Mark, who has a net game, standing way behind the baseline blowing rallies. Maybe that's the way his new American coach Nick BoIIetrieri likes it played, but Australian fans expect their men to venture forward occasionally. But the tide turned when he broke Ran in the fifth game of the second set and hit a 203kmh ace in the next. He had a setback in the following game when he was too slow, volleyed badly, over-hit and was broken himself. But then he broke back and closed out the set 6-4 with aces of 202kmh, 204kmh and 196kmh Exocets indeed. After that, it was a heavyweight beating on a lightweight and it ended 2-6 6-4 6-4 6-2. Later Philippoussis complained about nerves in this match, but confused me by saying that he had enjoyed the cacophony at Flushing Meadow against Sampras. If he was centre-half-forward for Essendon he would be playing in front of rabid crowds of 50,000 every week. With Rafter gone they will probably stick him in against Sampras, on a hiding to nothing, on centre court in the next round. He is a highly promising player. So let's hope the experience doesn't explode his confidence like Agassi did to Rafter. Yesterday was my first look at The Scud. For a long time I thought I was looking at The Spud. Melbourne boy Mark Philippoussis was supposed to be beating up on a guy from the Middle East on centre court yesterday. His name is Eyal Ran from Israel, and the odd Scud landed there during the Gulf War in 1991. That was the year Boris Becker went for a run in the park when half the TV sets in the press room were tuned into CNN to see if the Yanks could ace Saddam Hussein with as much firepower as Philippoussis is supposed to have. Sadders, of course, stayed in the bunker playing Scrabble and relying on his Scuds to do the job. The Yanks couldn't hit Sadders and the Scuds couldn't hit anything most of them missed Kuwait. As a TV war it was like a first-round women's match. So why did they name Australia's allegedly most promising tennis player after a dud? This question appeared to be playing havoc across the weather-beaten dials of John "Nuke" Newcombe and Tony Roche, who see in big Mark the answer to our Davis Cup woes. Australia is the Iraq of the racquet right now. Philippoussis 19, 194cm and 92kg looks like he should either be playing centre-half-forward for Essendon or featuring in Bay watch. Ran - 23, 180cm and 68kg -played only six singles matches on the ATP Tour last year, winning two. He is the sort of skinny runt who gets sand kicked in his face on Bay watch every week. He doesn't even make the real people's section of the ATP player guide. I guess that makes him an also-Ran. Last year Philippoussis lowered his ranking from No 304 to AUSTRALIAN OPEN No 32, made three finals and was the youngest player in the top 50. In one of the stranger decisions for a budding superstar, he declined to try to qualify for Wimbledon. But he put up a brave show in a four-setter against Pete Sampras in the third round of the US Open. He was sent in against Hungary in the Davis Cup and won one and lost one as Australia crashed. At last, it seemed, Australia had a big server, a big bad boom boom sort of a guy. He was, at the very least, this year's Pat Rafter. Remember Pat Rafter? He was straight out of Melrose Place, a looker, a big server, a rusher, a teen's dream. Unfortunately they put him in against Andre Agassi in the fourth round last year and three sets later he was just another Australian tennis player. He was sent out into the world to learn groundstrokes that Ken Rose-wall could play when he was wearing L plates. Yesterday, in the first set, Scud couldn't land a serve better than 180kmh - the midget Michael Chang was as quick as that the day before. Ran was even matching his serve. With no big serv e operating, it was a chance to look at his ground strokes. Unfortunately, as Ran took the first set 6-2 in 35 minutes, they didn't seem to be any better than Rafter's last year. 3 7 ty' I J... II ii i i 1 Don't miss the tension of the build up to the NFL Superbowl. Catch the highlights of previous Superbowls, only on Sports ESPN, weeknights from 7 pm . CRICKET Record stand a winner DURBAN, Thursday: A record third-wicket partnership of 118 between Hansie Cronje and Jacques Kallis, plus fiery fast bowling from Allan Donald, won South Africa the fifth one-day international against England on Wednesday and clinched the series 4-1. After Donald (4-41) had led the way in bowling out England for a paltry 184 in 49.5 overs, Cronje (78) and Kallis (67) helped reach the target with 10 balls to spare. TENNIS No ruling on Graf fine STUTTGART, Thursday: The State prosecutor investigating Steffi Graf and her father for tax evasion declined yesterday to rule out that the case against the player could be dropped if she paid a multi-million-dollar fine. Peter Wechsung said the investigation was continuing, but that reports about a rapid conclusion were speculative. RACING Danewin lines up, too Outstanding Sydney galloper Danewin was named yesterday as a late addition to the field for the inaugural $5.3 million Dubai World Cup race on March 27. A Dubai World Cup committee exercised its option to pick a reserve from another region after the withdrawal of the Asian zone entry Taiki Blizzard from Japan. Danewin joins Jeune and Mahogany in the field of 14 for the 2,000m race. D SOCCER Celtic pressure Rangers EDINBURGH, Thursday: Substitute Andy Walker put Celtic within two points of Scottish premier division leaders Rangers when they came from behind yesterday to beat Hearts 2-1. ICE SKATING Money replaces medals LONDON, Thursday: Figure skating steps into the modern sporting world next week when prize money is awarded at a major championship for the first time. The International Skating Union is providing some $500,000 for the four events at the European championships in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Individual winners will each receive $20,000, with $15,000 to the runners-up and $10,000 for third place. D GOLF Low scores blown away LOS ANGELES, Thursday: Strong winds contributed to high first-round scores at the Bob Hope Classic at Palm Desert yesterday, leaving Mark Brooks and Brian Kamm tied for the lead with six-under-par 66s. In the tournament played over four courses players were buffetted by 64kmh winds. D SOCCER One-up while down one TURIN, Thursday: A first-half goal by Gianluca Vialli gave champions Juventus a 1-0 win over Parma yesterday for their first Italian Super Cup victory, despite playing with 10 men for the second half. 0 1996 AUSTRALIAN OPEN, DAY FOUR Champ has her bubble At the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne pierced ' v I i v - Watch the Dallas Cowboys take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year's Superbowl, live and uninterrupted from 1 0 am. SEE NFL STAR 'BUBBA' SMITH Visit our stand at the Sydney Sports Expo at Darling Harbour, on Friday 26th at 2.30 pm and you could meet NFL champion 'Bubba' Smith. You could also win one of 6 Gold Passes to Rugby League games at the stand from January 25 - 28. For more information call 13 33 11 From Page 34 tactic another coach had publicly suggested. Instead, Philippoussis tried to serve straight at Ran, and double-faulted. He recovered to win in four sets and 2hr 39min, 2-6 6-4 6-4 6-2. Apart from the fact that it allows him to renew acquaintances with Pete Sampras they last met in the third round of the US Open the match was notable for Ran's underarm serve late in proceedings after leg cramps had set in. There will be few such liberties in the match against Sampras, which will probably be played tomorrow night. Sampras also faltered against fellow American Michael Joyce, ranked 42nd, before rolling to THE AUSTRALIANS Men's singles, Rd 2: Mark Woodforde (SA) b Martin Sinner (Ger) 6-4 6-1 6-4, Mark Philippoussis (Vic) b Eyal Ran (Isr) 2-6 6-4 6-4 6-2, Mauricio Hadad (Col) b Patrick Rafter (Qld) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 2-2 (ret), Michael Tebbutt (NSW) b Peter Tramacchi (Qld) 6-3 6-4 7-5. Women's singles, Rd 2: 10-Lindsay Davenport (US) b Rennae Stubbs (NSW) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. THE SEEDS Men's singles, Rd 2: 1-Pete Sampras (US) b Michael Joyce (US) 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4, 4-Boris Becker (Ger) b Thomas Johansson (Swe) 4-6 3-6 6-2 6- 1 6-4, 6-Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) b Alex Corretja (Spn) 6-1 6-2 6-3, 7-Thomas Enqvist (Swe) b Adrian Voinea (Rom) 6-4 6-4 6-1, 10-Goran Ivanisevic (Cro) b Sebastien Lareau (Can) 6-4 6-4 6-4, MaliVai Washington (US) b 12-Arnaud Boetsch (Fra) 64 6-1 3-6 6-1. Women's singles, Rd 2: 2-Conchita Martinez (Spn) b Florencia Labat (Arg) 6-2 6-4, Elena Likhovtseva (Rus) b 4-Mary Pierce (Fra) 6-4 64, Mana Endo (Jpn) b 5-Kimiko Date (Jpn) 6-2 1-6 64, SAnke Huber (Ger) b Asa Carlsson (Swe) 6-1 6-2, 11-Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (Neth) b Shi Ting Wang (Tai) 64 6 6-3, 16-Amanda Coetzer (SAf) b Sabine Hack (Ger) 6-1 6-1. THE REST Men's singles, Rd 2: Renzo Furlan (ita) b Alberto Costa (Spn) 1-6 7-6 (74) 6-1 6-3, Brett Steven (NZ) b Brian MacPhie (US) 6-1 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 64, Jan Siemerink (Neth) b Diego Nargiso (Ita) 1-6 5-7 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 6-1, Francisco Clavet (Spn) b Filip Dewulf (Belg) 2-6 7-5 6-3 6-2, Hernan Gumy (Arg) b David Wheaton (US) 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 64 7-5, Magnus Larsson (Swe) b Byron Black (Zim) 6-3 3-6 64 6-4. Women's singles, Rd 2: Barbara Schett (Aut) b Sung-Hee Park (Sth Kor) 6-4 6-3, Nanne Dahlman (Fin) b Ruxandra Dragomir (Rom) 64 6-3, Ludmila Richterova (Cze) b Dally Randriantefy (Madag) 7-6 (7-1) 4-6 7-5, Rita Grande (Ita) b Silke Meier (Ger) 6-4 7-6 (7-5), Martina Hingis (Swi) b Barbara Paulus (Aut) 6-1 64, Kristie Boogert (Neth) b Nancy Feber (Belg) 6-2 1-6 6-3, Rika Hiraki (Jpn) b Laxmi Poruri (US) 6-3 4-6 6-2, Helena Sukova (Cze) b Magdalena Grzybowska (Pol) 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 8-6, Jana Kandarr (Ger) b Yone Kamio (Jpn) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Doubles results In Scoreboard OPTUS VISION What next? Nota: Subfect to scttaduhng 7 mmmmumm r L the line 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4. The world No 1 then allowed the blowtorch of public expectation to be turned up a little more on Philippoussis, predicting again that the Melbourne teenager would be a top-10 player before the end of the year.

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