Philippoussis beats Ivanisevic for Queen's title
Jun. 15, 1997
LONDON (AP) _ Australian Mark Philippoussis beat Goran Ivanisevic in just 53 minutes in the final at the Queen's grass-court tournament Sunday, showing he could be a factor when Wimbledon opens in a week.
The 20-year-old Australian with the game's fastest serve never faltered in his 7-5, 6-3 victory over the Croatian _ also one of tennis' biggest guns.
Philippoussis had 15 aces _ to finish the tournament with 91 _ in this third win this year and his fourth in nine months. Ivanisevic _ a two-time Wimbledon runner-up _ had 12 aces. But he never came close to breaking the Aussie they call ``Scud.''
Philippoussis _ whose serve has been clocked at a record 142 mph _ was poised, relaxed and returned serve well.
``I definitely think I'm improving all the time as I mature,'' he said. ``... I'm going to take a day off from tennis next week and relax so I can be fresh for Wimbledon.''
He likes his chances in that tournament.
``It's going to help having confidence going in,'' Philippoussis said. ``And other players are also aware I'm playing well... Australians have always had strong grass-court games, so anything can happen.''
``If he plays like this he can be very dangerous,'' he said of Philippoussis. ``If he can play for seven matches and two weeks like, I don't know. Anything is possible.
``There are no favorites in Wimbledon. Pete (Sampras) is going to be No. 1 on the betting, but he's not he favorite for me.''
What about Ivanisevic, already a two-time winner on tour this year?
``I don't know about me,'' he said. ``When I talk I do bad, so I won't talk so much.''
Philippoussis opened the match with three straight aces. That set the tone. He won the first set when Ivanisevic's serve faltered in the 12th game.
And the second set was much the same.
Virtually the only entertainment in the match came in the seventh game of the second set when, frustrated by Philippoussis' serve and his inability to handle it, Ivanisevic walked over and handed his racket to 14-year-old ball girl Amy Kavanagh.
Coaxed to take the court and cheered on by fans, she returned a lob from Philippoussis and then won the make-believe point when the Australian kicked the ball into the net. The rally lasted for a dozen exchanges _ much longer than anything in the match itself.
``I wasn't frustrated, but I just wanted to change something,'' said Ivanisevic, one of the free spirits on the ATP tour. ``She won the point, I won the next one and that's about as close as I got.''
Ivanisevic lost that game to fall behind 4-3, and was broken in the next game when his own serve failed.
``I had two bad service games and that's all Mark needed,'' Ivanisevic said. ``He gave me nothing in the match _ no break-points, nothing.''