from Ojogo online
Stefan Edberg and Marcelo Rios were placed as leaders of the two groups in the 9th edition of the Vale do Lobo Grand Champions Caixa Geral de Depósitos, the only Portuguese ATP tournament in the Champions Tour, the Premier Sports organize from 11 to 14 August in the Valley do Lobo Tennis Academy, municipality of Loulé.
The Swedish Edberg, winner of six Grand Slam titles and four Davis Cup, is the big new-entry in 2009 and heads the Group Vale do Lobo, which has also the French Henri Leconte, also champion of the Davis Cup, the Brazilian Fernando Meligeni, vice champion in Vale do Lobo in 2007, and the Austrian Thomas Muster, former champion of Roland Garros, who yesterday replaced injured Mats Wilander (Sweden).
The Chilean Marcelo Rios, who defends the status of two-time champion in Vale do Lobo (2006 and 2008), leads the group Caixa Geral de Depósitos, which also highlight two entrants in the race, the former world No 4 and Greg Rusedski and Davis Cup champion Marc-Kevin Goellner. It is this group that includes the only Portuguese representative, Nuno Marques, for ten years the best tennis player in the national world ranking. In 2009 the ATP Champions Tour director of tournament gives total freedom to organize in groups. It's therefore important that Peter Frazão explains the criteria that led to the conformation of Groups Vale do Lobo and Caixa Geral de Depósitos.
"I began by establishing two seeds, putting each one in front of a group, therefore, Edberg in one and Rios in another. And did the same with the two 'wild cards', with Meligeni to stay with Edberg and Marques with Rios. With the other four players I tried to relive duels of the past and worried with the age groups of players to ensure the quality of the show and a balanced level of play",said the president of Premier Sports.
In Group Vale do Lobo, it was expected that Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander relive the rivalry, 20 clashes in ATP World Tour (11 wins for Wilander and 9 for Edberg), five of them in the Grand Slam tournaments, with the highlight of the 1985 Australian Open final won by Edberg. After the withdrawal of injured Wilander, his place was taken by Thomas Muster in front of which Edberg never lost, and defeated him in 10 occasions. With Henri Leconte, Edberg won the "head-to-head" 6-1, while he never met Fernando Meligeni.
In the group Caixa Geral de Depósitos we have a reprint of the 1998 Indian Wells final, in which Marcelo Rios beat Greg Rusedski 6-3, 6-7 (15/17), 7-6 (7/4) and 6-4. The Chilean had a presence in the final of the Australian Open in January, while the British was a finalist in the US Open six months before and were both in great shape. Rios' victory in California led him to win another Masters two weeks later in Miami (defeating Andre Agassi in the final) and catapulted him to the first position of the world ranking.
With Marc-Kevin Goellner Rios is tied, a victory each. However, he never encountered Nuno Marques in the ATP World Tour, but did so in the Vale do Lobo Grand Champions Caixa Geral de Depósitos, 2006, beating the Portuguese idol by 6-2 and 6-4. After winning the tournament, in the year of his debut, the former champion of the Grand Slam Cup said Marques was the opponent who caused him more problems, more than John McEnroe in the final. Will the current coach of Leo and Maria João Tavares Koehler be able to take revenge this year?
For Pedro Frazão the most likely final will be between the Swedish and Chilean: "Stefan Edberg and Marcelo Rios are clearly the favorites. So I put them as seeds. But there may be surprises in the tournament. Thomas Muster was world No 1 and pay attention to Greg Rusedski. I saw him play in December in London and he only lost the final with Pioline in the 'champions tie-break', having match-points. However, our 'hardcourt' the Vale do Lobo Tennis Academy is slower than the surface mounted at the Royal Albert Hall and I believe that if Rios is at his normal level he will manage to counter the attacks of Rusedski".
The order of matches of the 9th Vale do Lobo Grand Champions Caixa Geral de Depósitos in the four-day tournament was organized as follows:
Tuesday, August 11:
Wednesday, August 12:
Thursday, 13th August:
Friday, 14 August:
18:30 pm: doubles exhibition;
20:45: 3rd/4th place final;
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