John McEnroe and Pat Cash will meet in a winner-takes-all clash at the BlackRock Masters Tennis on Thursday after McEnroe lost a pulsating opening round-robin confrontation with Cedric Pioline on Wednesday.
McEnroe fought tooth-and-nail to beat Pioline, saving countless break points before going down 7-6, 6-7, 10-4 (Championsâ Tie-Break).
With Cash losing to Pioline on day one of the tournament, it means only the winner of the Cash vs. McEnroe match will advance to the quarterfinals.
âI really wanted to win badly because I knew that we were out there a long time and itâs a bummer not to win after all that effort. I played as hard as I could. I was playing well, I felt like there were a lot of great points and it wasnât as if I lost it - he won it. The guyâs got a lot of talent and itâs annoying!â said McEnroe.
âPat and I are both sort of desperate now, admittedly. We know the scenario, that one of us goes to the quarters and the other goes home. Weâve played a lot of close matches over the years, both on the main tour and on the BlackRock Tour of Champions so I expect this one to be close too. Hopefully I can try to sneak one out or else itâs going to be a short trip. Iâm hoping Iâm going to hang in there because I love the Albert Hall. Pat was licking his wounds today but heâs had a day off so weâll see. Itâs tough to predict but thatâs why sport is so great.â
Elsewhere, Sergi Bruguera started his campaign in dominant form, defeating Anders Jarryd 6-2, 6-4.
The Spaniard is feeling confident about his chances.
âI am enjoying myself, Iâm playing with confidence and confidence means a lot,â said Bruguera.
âWhen Iâm playing with confidence Iâm trying a lot of things and itâs going well and Iâm having fun, so itâs good. Of course I want to win here because Iâve never won it and it would be the end of a fantastic season for me. Playing here in the Royal Albert Hall is very nice, with an unbelievable ambience because itâs always full. Itâs fun to play here.â
Michael Stich kept his hopes of qualifying for the quarterfinals alive with a last-gasp victory over Greg Rusedski. The 1991 Wimbledon champion fought back from an 8-6 Championsâ Tie-Break deficit to prevail 6-2, 6-7, 11-9.
In the final match of the day, Jeremy Bates caused an upset by beating Wayne Ferreira 6-4, 6-2.
RESULTS â WEDNESDAY, 5th DECEMBER, 2007
Sergi Bruguera d Anders Jarryd 6-2, 6-4
Cedric Pioline d. John McEnroe 7-6, 6-7, 10-4 (championâs tie-break)
Michael Stich d. Greg Rusedski 6-2, 6-7, 11-9 (championâs tie break)
Jeremy Bates d. Wayne Ferreira 6-4, 6-2
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