Philippoussis Moves Into Brussels Final

Tim EdwardsMark Philippoussis defeats Thomas Enqvist in a Match Tie-break to earn a spot in the championship match against Xavier Malisse.

Australian Mark Philippoussis won an impressive 51 tour-level grass-court matches during his career on the ATP World Tour. So it was no surprise that the former World No. 8 enjoyed a successful debut on the grass of the David Lloyd Club at the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions on Friday.

Philippoussis came from behind to defeat Thomas Enqvist 2-6, 7-6, 10-7 in the semi-finals, earning a spot in Sunday’s championship match against home favourite Xavier Malisse.

“It was a slow start, but it ended up being a good match,” Philippoussis said. “Thomas is so tough. From the word ‘go’ he was hitting the ball big, returning big and when you are struggling a little bit with rhythm and someone is hitting the ball that clean and hard, it’s very difficult. I got into it and got to a second-set tie-break and played a good, aggressive tie-break… I ended up coming out with the win in the end.”

It was no surprise that the pair enjoyed a closely-contested encounter, given they split their six FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings on the ATP World Tour and have played many times since.

“It’s never easy or one-sided at all,” Philippoussis said. “It could have gone either way.”

Malisse had less trouble, winning in straight sets for the second day in a row to earn his spot against the Australian. The Belgian beat former World No. 1 Thomas Muster 7-5, 6-3.

“It’s fun playing. The confidence is going through the roof, good matches,” Malisse said. “Good crowd, good weather and feeling pretty good.”

Who will come out on top and lift the inaugural BNP Paribas Fortis Champions trophy? Make sure to buy your tickets to find out in person, as the final will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. And don’t forget, former World No. 1 John McEnroe will compete in an exciting mixed doubles exhibition alongside Kim Clijsters against talented Frenchman Henri Leconte and Dominique Monami, right after the singles final.

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