Stefan Edberg at the net during the Lagardère Trophy
(picture by François-David Lemierre)
from ATP champions Tour.com
Defending Champion Stefan Edberg and former French Open winner Michael Chang both opened their accounts in style ahead of their long-awaited Paris rematch at the 2009 Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy. The pair will clash tomorrow, twenty years after their epic 1989 Roland Garros final, and both were in superb form today. Chang needed less than an hour to breeze past Tournament Director Guy Forget 6-1, 6-1, while Edberg, who beat Bruguera in last year’s final, defeated Frenchman Arnaud Boetsch 6-4, 6-3.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow and it’s going to be a good match for both of us,” said Chang. “I’ve known Stefan for so long and he’s such a great champion. The guy is in great shape and he’s defending champion here so it’s not going to be an easy thing to do but I was feeling pretty comfortable out there today so hopefully I’ll feel the same tomorrow.”
Edberg admitted that a victory against Chang, 20 years after the American shattered his French Open dreams, would taste particularly sweet.
“It would be nice to get a bit of revenge for 1989 if I beat him tomorrow,” he said. “Hopefully it will be a good, close match. It will definitely be tough, that’s for sure. I’ve played Michael many times over the years so I know it’s always going to be a challenge to play him. You always have to work really hard and play great tennis because he doesn’t give you any free points. He fights all the way to the end so it’s really going to be a big challenge tomorrow.”
Of the 21 matches they played on the ATP circuit, Edberg won 12. Chang took eight of the last 10, but Edberg won their most recent Grand Slam tournament meetings - at the 1996 French Open and the 1992 US Open, which was the longest match ever played at Flushing Meadows.
Edberg is happy with his form ahead of their latest showdown. “I have to be happy with the match I played against Arnaud,” he said. “It wasn’t easy and I had to work quite hard to win but overall it was a good match. I had a great year here last year and it’s great to be back. It’s a fantastic club and with the nice weather here this is really as good as it gets.”
Also victorious on day one was Sweden's Thomas Enqvist, who was a last-minute replacement for the injured Mats Wilander. Enqvist, who won the title in Sao Paulo earlier this year, defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4, 7-6(5) in the first match of the day, extending his unbeaten run on the ATP Champions Tour to five matches. Kafelnikov, who has lost weight and is in better shape than in his ATP Champions Tour debut last October, performed creditably. He will write an exclusive blog on the ATP Champions Tour website this week.
In the final match of the day, home favourite Cedric Pioline beat former French Open Champion Thomas Muster 6-4, 6-2 to join Enqvist at the top of Group B.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner. After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday's final.
After Paris, the ATP Champions Tour will move on to Chengdu for the inaugural Chengdu Open (November 5-9), and after that will arrive in Turin, Italy for the city’s first ever ATP Champions Tour event (November 11-14). The Tour culminates in London at the AEGON Masters Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall, 1-6 December.
- Stefan Edberg: Andy Murray made the right decision
- Edberg to play Royal Albert Hall Masters in London
- Edberg beats McEnroe in thrilling Stockholm final
- A Twitter chat with Stefan Edberg
- Champions tennis is real tennis
- Tennis exhibition draws big stars
- Wozniacki teams up with Edberg
- Stefan Edberg third in Paris tournament
- Chang and Enqvist To Clash In Paris Final
- Chang beats Edberg in Paris
- Edberg beats Boetsch in first Paris match
- Edberg, Chang Renew Rivalry In Paris
- Rusedski Claims First ATP Champions Tour Title
- Rusedski To Play Edberg In Algarve Final
- Stefan beats Muster again