Courier battles back to win Champions Challenge in Tampa
TAMPA, FL (Nov. 9, 2012) – Inspired by his hometown crowd, Central Florida’s own Jim Courier battled back from a 5-1 deficit in the Championship match to overcome John McEnroe and win the Champions Challenge Friday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. It was the Dade City native’s second PowerShares Series title of the season.
“It feels really good to come back home and play so well in front of all of my family and friends here in Tampa,” said Courier. “I got into a pretty deep hole there against John, but I dug deep and found a way to claw back into the match, and some things went right for me in the end. I hope we were able to provide a great night of entertainment for these fans that have always supported me throughout my career.”
With the win, Courier moves into a tie for second in the 2012 PowerShares Series rankings with Pete Sampras, and sits just 100 points behind the Series leader McEnroe. This was the seventh event of the 2012 tour, with five events remaining on the schedule.
In the evening’s first semifinal, Courier and Mats Wilander were evenly matched in the early going and were square at 3-3, when Courier began to pull away. He broke the Swede’s serve for the first time at 4-3, and then held his own serve to close out the set for a 6-3 triumph. It was Wilander’s first appearance on the 2012 PowerShares Series tour.
In the second semifinal, McEnroe and Michael Chang waged a fierce battle in what was one of the most entertaining matches of the season thus far. It looked as if McEnroe would put it away with a match point at 5-4, but in typical fashion, Chang fought back to stay alive, and pushed the set to at tiebreak. In one highlight reel point, Chang played an incredible between the legs shot that led to an eventual winner, and then celebrated by breaking into a Gangnam Style dance, much to the delight of the crowd. Finally – in the breaker – McEnroe capitalized on an opportunity at 2-2, and pulled away to win, 7-3.
The 2012 PowerShares Series returns to action Saturday night for the Champions Shootout at the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta, Georgia with the action starting at 7:30 pm. The same foursome of Chang, Courier, McEnroe and Wilander will take to the court.
For news and stories regarding the entire 2012 PowerShares Series and ticket information for future events, log on to www.powersharesseries.com.
Semifinal 1: Courier def. Wilander, 6-3
Semifinal 2: McEnroe def. Chang, 7-6 (3)
Final: Courier def. McEnroe, 8-7 (2)
UPDATED 2012 POWERSHARES SERIES RANKINGS
1. McEnroe 1200
2. Sampras 1100
4. Rafter 800
5. Lendl 400
6. Chang 300
7. Agassi 100