Rafter wins back-to-back titles with MSG triumph
NEW YORK, NY (Nov. 5, 2012) – Four legendary tennis stars played to a raucous crowd on New York’s biggest stage, but in the end it was Pat Rafter who claimed his second PowerShares Series title in four days by defeating fan favorite John McEnroe, 8-3 in the championship match of the NASDAQ Indexes Cup Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The first-ever visit for the PowerShares Series to MSG marked Rafter’s second straight victory following his triumph Friday night in Philadelphia.
“It’s just a thrill for me to be back out here competing in front of the fans again,” said the two-time US Open Champion Rafter. “I had never played in this building, so what an added thrill, and a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the fans enough for coming out tonight to watch us play, in light of what this part of the country has been through lately. I hope we were able to provide some good entertainment.”
With the win, Rafter moves into a tie for third in the 2012 PowerShares Series rankings with Jim Courier. This was the sixth event of the 2012 tour, the halfway point of the season. With his semifinal victory, McEnroe gained 200 points and still sits atop the 2012 rankings with a 100-point lead on Pete Sampras.
In the evening’s first semifinal, Rafter used his full-court attack and aggressive returns to thwart Sampras’ legendary serve, 6-3. Sampras – who was battling a calf strain he suffered in practice last week that caused him to miss the Friday’s Champions Shootout in Philadelphia – put forth a valiant effort, but didn’t have enough in the tank to overcome Rafter’s athletic, all-around game.
In the second semifinal, McEnroe jumped out to a quick 4-0 advantage over Andre Agassi, who was playing in his first PowerShares Series event of the season. Agassi would soon shake off the rust and start striking the ball with authority, clawing his way back into the match by breaking McEnroe’s serve twice. But at 5-4, the native New Yorker thrilled his hometown crowd by breaking Agassi one last time to close it out 6-4.
The 2012 PowerShares Series returns to action Friday night, November 9 for the Champions Challenge at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, with the action starting at 7:30 pm. Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander will make his 2012 PowerShares Series debut as he competes with Michael Chang, Courier, and McEnroe.
For news and stories regarding the entire 2012 PowerShares Series and ticket information for future events, log on to www.powersharesseries.com.
Semifinal 1: Rafter def. Sampras, 6-3
Semifinal 2: McEnroe def. Agassi, 6-4
Final: Rafter def. McEnroe, 8-3
UPDATED 2012 POWERSHARES SERIES RANKINGS
1. McEnroe 1200
2. Sampras 1100
3. Courier 800
5. Lendl 400
6. Chang 200
7. Agassi 100