CHICAGO, IL (Oct. 17, 2012) – In the second event of the 2012 PowerShares Series, John McEnroe staged an incredible late rally, defying age and a 7-4 deficit to earn a hard-fought 8-7 (4) victory over Pete Sampras in the championship match of the PowerShares QQQ Challenge, presented by Cancer Treatment Centers of America, at the United Center Wednesday night.
It was McEnroe’s first victory of the season in his second appearance, after coming off a runner-up finish to Jim Courier last weekend in Arizona. The seven-time Grand Slam champ earned 400 points for the victory, and now sits alone atop the 2012 PowerShares Series Rankings.
“I’m definitely going to savor this one for a while,” said McEnroe, who finished in a tie for fifth in the 2011 Champions Series standings. “It had to be the luck of the Irish, because it’s not often that you can come back on a great champion like Pete, the way I was able to tonight.”
Sampras stormed out of the gates, winning the first two games and taking it to McEnroe, before McEnroe found his groove, began seeing the ball and returning Pete’s legendary serve. McEnroe fought back from a 4-7 deficit, feeding off the crowd’s energy with some brilliant passing shots down the lines that were too much for Sampras.
In the evening’s first semifinal, Ivan Lendl started fast, striking the ball cleanly and hitting winners and aces to hold first and wrong footing McEnroe several times. As the match wore on, not only did McEnroe’s footing improve, his legendary hands did as well, as he knifed volleys into the corners to break Lendl in the eighth game and serve out the match, 6-3. It was the first ever meeting between McEnroe and Lendl in PowerShares Series history.
In the evening's second semifinal, Sampras and Jim Courier brought a familiar brand of power tennis. Neither player looking to budge, Sampras delivered booming serves and overheads and Courier answered with defense, movement and his all-world forehand. In the end, Pete’s serve was too much, as he closed out the match with a second-serve ace to win in a tie-break, 7-6 (5).
Sampras was making his first appearance of 2012, as he began defense of his title and top ranking from the 2011 Champions Series. Sampras won five of the seven events he competed in last year, but now sits in third place this season, behind McEnroe and Courier.
Sampras earned 200 points for his performance, while Lendl and Courier each earned 100 points in the standings. Courier dropped into second in the race, now with a total of 500 points.
The 2012 PowerShares Series returns to action on Thursday night, October 18 in Detroit, Michigan when the same four players - McEnroe, Courier, Sampras and Lendl - take the court to compete in the Champions Classic, with the action starting at 7:30 pm at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
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. Lendl, 6-3
Semifinal 2: Sampras def. Courier, 7-6 (5)
Final: McEnroe def. Sampras, 8-7 (4)
UPDATED 2012 POWERSHARES SERIES RANKINGS
1. McEnroe 600
2. Courier 500
3. Sampras 200
4. Chang 100