ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR: ALL TIED UP AT 1-1 AFTER DAY ONE

ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR: ALL TIED UP AT 1-1 AFTER DAY ONE

ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR: ALL TIED UP AT 1-1 AFTER DAY ONE

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The 2016 Delray Beach Open kicked off play with a pair of ATP Champions Tour matches on Friday night at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center. After opening night, Team USA and Team International are tied at 1-1 heading into the weekend.

South African Wayne Ferreira got Team International on the board first, winning the tournament’s opening match 6-2, 7-5 over Aaron Krickstein.  Krickstein was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a calf injury, though he finished out the match.

“It’s still a lot of fun to go out there and compete and kind of get the juices flowing again and remember what it used to be like to compete in front of people,” said the 44-year-old Ferreira.

In the nightcap, Mardy Fish quickly evened the score for Team USA as he dispatched Spaniard Emilio Sanchez 6-1, 6-4. Fish, making his ATP Champions Tour debut, bested Sanchez, who is 16 years his senior.

It was evident Fish was not far removed from his days in the ATP World Tour, as he overpowered Sanchez with his serves.

“Did you see that? Because I didn’t,” Sanchez jokingly remarked to the chair umpire following an ace.

A nostalgic Fish commented on his opponent. “I have a ton of respect for Emilio and his career,” he said. “He was the captain of Spain’s Davis Cup team in 2008, which was one of my most memorable ties. It was a pleasure sharing the court with him.”

The format for the Champions Tour matches Team USA (Krickstein/Pernfors, Fish and James Blake) against Team International (Ferreira, Sanchez and Sebastien Grosjean) in a best-of-eight round-robin event spanning three days.

With Krickstein injured on Friday night, Delray Beach Open officials had to go to the bullpen and summon former Roland Garros finalist Mikael Pernfors to play Sanchez on Saturday afternoon. Pernfors, who lives an hour north in Vero Beach, has played in three of the first seven ATP Champions events in Delray Beach.

James Blake, the third Team USA member, returns to Delray Beach after making his ATP Champions Tour debut here a year ago. He was also a two-time finalist here when he played on the ATP World Tour. He plays his first event at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow against Grosjean.

Grosjean, the Frenchman who lives locally in Boca Raton, is making his first Champions Tour appearance in Delray Beach.

Saturday and Sunday’s ATP Champions Tour Schedule:

  • Saturday, February 13, 12:30 pm, James Blake vs. Sebastien Grosjean
  • Saturday, February 13, NB 2:30 pm, Mikael Pernfors vs. Emilion Sanchez
  • Saturday, February 13, 6:00 pm, Mardy Fish vs. Sebastien Grosjean
  • Saturday, February 13, NB 8:00pm, James Blake vs. Wayne Ferreira
  • Sunday, February 14, 12:30 pm, James Blake vs. Emilio Sanchez
  • Sunday, February 14, NB 2:00, Mardy Fish vs. Wayne Ferreira
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