Stefan Edberg volleys against Mark Philippoussis in Zurich 2012
Stefan Edberg produced the performance of the week on Thursday evening to defeat Mark Philippoussis 6-4, 7-6(4), a result that gives him an unassailable lead at the top of Group B and assures him qualification for Saturday’s BNP Paribas ZurichOpen final.
Edberg, who defeated Goran Ivanisevic to lift the Zurich Open title back in 2010, hit a purple patch against the 36-year-old Philippoussis. The Swede was undaunted in the face of a barrage of 220km/h serves from the Philippoussis racquet, and used his own deft touch at the net, and wily groundstrokes to outsmart his opponent.
"This is about as well as I can play,” said Edberg. «In fact I think today was the best I've played in years, I'm really happy. It was just one of those days where everything feels right. I also got the run of the luck today, a lot of lucky balls went my way which always helps».
For Edberg it will be a first ATP Champions Tour final since he lifted the title here in Zurich two years ago.
«It’s great to be back playing well again and I am happy to be in the final. The court here suits me so I will look forward to the match whoever I play».
Edberg into the final!
from Zuerich Open.net
Stefan Edberg caused the surprise of the tournament so far with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over title-holder Mark Philippoussis on Thursday night. The Swede is thus into the final, while the Aussie will have to make do with the third-place play-off.
Edberg was on fine form throughout the 70-minute contest, opening with a break and never giving his opponent (11 years his junior) a chance to get back into the match. "Stefan was solid from start to finish and he really did play well tonight," said a magnanimous Philippoussis after the match. "I had a really slow start and from 0-3 down it's hard to get anywhere against an opponent that's playing so well."
The Swede took the first set 6-4 then outlasted Philippoussis in the second. He hung tough and forced a tie-break in which the Aussie was again slow out of the blocks. Edberg raced to a 6-0 lead and finally took the fourth of those six match points. "This is about as well as I can play," said a smiling Edberg. "In fact I think today was the best I've played in years, I'm really happy. It was just one of those days where everything feels right. I also got the run of the luck today, a lot of lucky balls went my way which always helps."
A feature of the match was Edberg's exquisite backhands, both down the line and sliced for drops. "I didn't always have a one-handed backhand. As a junior I had a two-handed backhand but then I changed it to get more power, and tonight it was really working for me."
In doubles, Mark Philippoussis and doubles partner Stefano Napolitano reached the semi-finals. They will play Tim Henman/Kyle Edmund for a spot in Saturday's final, where they could meet either Marat Safin/Mitchell Krueger or Henri Leconte/Julien Cagnina.
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