December 9, 2018
Another year, another flawless performance for Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Royal Albert Hall.
Ferrero retained his Champions Tennis title on Sunday, defeating former World No. 2 Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-6(3) to leave London with another trophy.
“I’m very happy because the atmosphere in the finals is always a bit different compared to the other matches,” Ferrero said. “Here at the Royal Albert Hall, you can tell that the crowd is enjoying it a lot and there’s a lot of respect from the other players. It always makes it more special when you win.”
Interestingly, the pair played two months ago in Mallorca at the Legends Cup, which Haas eventually won. In the semi-finals, Haas beat Ferrero in a Champions Tie-break on red clay. In their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (Ferrero won 3-2), the Spaniard won all three of their matches on clay.
So it was only fitting that Ferrero flipped the script on hard court, defeating Haas to complete his undefeated run at the year’s final ATP Champions Tour event. Ferrero struck 12 aces and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points en route to a 79-minute victory.
Mark Philippoussis secured third place at the event, defeating Belgian Xavier Malisse 7-6(7), 6-2 in one hour and 20 minutes.
“I felt like today I had the most rhythm. I was happy with the way I played, win or lose,” Philippoussis said. “It is a pleasure being out on the court and with Malisse who is so talented. Some of the shots he was hitting were incredibly impressive. I feel like today I hit the ball the best compared to the rest of the matches.”
Philippoussis hit 13 aces in the match and saved the only break point he faced. But it was a fun clash for the crowd, with Malisse holding his own with his baseline play, despite the straight-sets result.
“Mark served and played well, good points, good rallies and the first set was key, but I am happy with the way I played,” Malisse said. “It’s been a pleasure playing against Mark and at the Royal Albert Hall. I love it here and hopefully I will be back next year!”