16 Feb ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR COMES DOWN TO SUNDAY
Team Europe Holds Slim 3-2 Lead With Two Matches To Go
By STEVE DORSEY
David Ferrer jump-started a rally for Team Europe when the Spaniard defeated Canadian Jesse Levine 6-2 Saturday on Day 2 of the ATP Champions Tour competition at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center.
A lengthy afternoon rain delay forced tournament officials to reduce each of the day’s matches to one set.
American James Blake gave Team World a 2-0 lead in the team competition when he opened the day’s play with a 6-4 victory against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. Levine seemed poised to extend Team World’s lead when he jumped out to a 2-love lead, but Ferrer then reeled off six straight games to take the shortened match.
“I started out pretty well, and then I think David woke up,” said Levine, who opened the tournament Friday night with a win against Tommy Haas, but described his loss to Ferrer as a “butt-kicking.”
Ferrer was making his Delray Beach debut after retiring from the ATP Tour last year.
“I just retired seven months ago, but I love this game, so I’m really happy to be out here, and I want to thank the fans for their support,” Ferrer said.
Team Europe tied the competition at 2-all when Baghdatis and Mikael Pernfors of Sweden teamed up to beat Americans Johan Kriek and Vince Spadea 6-4 in the day’s only doubles match.
Haas then completed Team Europe’s rally by beating Spadea 7-5 to give Team Europe a 3-2 lead heading into the final matches Sunday.
Sunday’s competition will begin at 12:30 p.m. when Baghdatis and Ferrer meet Levine and Spadea in a doubles match, followed by the final singles match between Haas and Blake.