RAFTER CAPTURES CHAMPIONS SHOOTOUT IN PHILADELPHIA TO CLAIM HIS FIRST POWERSHARES SERIES TITLE
PHILADELPHIA, PA (Nov. 2, 2012) – Pat Rafter used his athletic all court game to hold off the ageless serve and volley game of John McEnroe to secure an 8-4 triumph in the championship match of the Champions Shootout – the fifth event of the 2012 PowerShares Series Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The night’s finale was a rewind-the-clock moment, as two serve-and-volleyers looked to take control of points early by chipping and charging. The match would showcase two of the greatest sets of hands the game has ever seen. Once Rafter broke McEnroe’s serve to go ahead 6-4, he remained on a mission, not relinquishing another game in his quest for his first PowerShares Series title.
It was Rafter’s first appearance of the season, and his first in the PowerShares Series since 2009, when he played in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The two-time U.S. Open Champion earned 400 points for the victory and moved into a tie for fourth in the 2012 rankings, behind McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Jim Courier.
“I’ve not played too many competitive matches lately, but I’ve been doing a lot of fitness work at home,” said the Australian Rafter. “I feel like I’m still at an age where I can hit the ball well, so I want to enjoy it while I can, and it was really nice to win this first time out. John puts a lot of pressure on your serve and is always a difficult opponent. He’s just amazing – a real pleasure to go up against.”
In the evening’s first semifinal, Jim Courier jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but McEnroe battled his way back into the match by showing off his great touch with frequent angles, drop shots and volleys keeping Courier guessing all the while. McEnroe forged ahead to a 5-4 lead on the strength of a couple huge return of serve winners, ultimately closing out the match with a backhand passing shot.
In the second semifinal, Rafter took an early 3-0 lead against Michael Chang with a break in the second game. Rafter then held for a 4-1 advantage by using his vintage one-handed, backhand overhead to defend against two Chang lobs in the same game. His net play proved to be too much for Chang, as Rafter broke serve again to win, 6-2. With the semifinal victory, McEnroe gained 200 points and now sits alone atop the 2012 rankings, as he took over the top spot from Pete Sampras. Chang and Courier each earned 100 points.
The 2012 PowerShares Series returns to action Monday night, November 5 at the venerable Madison Square Garden in New York City, for the NASDAQ Indexes Cup, with the action starting at 7:30 pm.
For news and stories regarding the entire 2012 PowerShares Series and ticket information for future events, log on to www.powersharesseries.com.
Semifinal 1: McEnroe def. Courier, 6-4
Semifinal 2: Rafter def. Chang, 6-2
Final: Rafter def. McEnroe, 8-4
UPDATED 2012 POWERSHARES SERIES RANKINGS
1. McEnroe 1100
2. Sampras 1000
3. Courier 800
4. Lendl 400
6. Chang 200
7. Martin 100
2012 PowerShares Series Media Contact
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