x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Haarhuis wins Dubai Legends opener

Paul Haarhuis began the defence of his Legends Rock Dubai title with a convincing win against the Spaniard Sergi Bruguera.

Wayne Ferreira in action during a Legends Rock Dubai tennis match at the Aviation Club on Nov 19 2008.
Wayne Ferreira in action during a Legends Rock Dubai tennis match at the Aviation Club on Nov 19 2008.

Paul Haarhuis began the defence of his Legends Rock Dubai title with a convincing win against the Spaniard Sergi Bruguera. The Dutchman, recognised as one of the fittest on the circuit, put continual pressure on his opponents serve and forced a break in each set to win 7-5, 6-4. Both sets followed a similar pattern with games with serve until the seventh game. Haarhuis's mobility and ability to work the angles enabled him to put pressure on Bruguera's serve. In the first Haarhuis should have won 6-4, but produced a string of unforced errors to allow the Spaniard parity. However, three aces in the final game saw him serve for the first set 7-5. In the second set Haarhuis found more fluency and Bruguera was forced to play under pressure and on the run as the Dutchman worked him around the court. Although Bruguera produced the odd sparkling forehand winner he was never in a position of authority. The fast courts enabled Haarhuis to dictate the pace of the game and were it not for some unforced errors the margin of victory would have been more convincing. With fast courts playing to his strengths and the determination and mobility to put opponents on continual pressure Haarhuis could once again prove to be the man to beat in this competition. Bruguera will look to serve with more authority to reduce opportunities for break points against him. The doubles, meanwhile, was all about entertainment as Mansour Bahrami thrilled the crowd with his full repertoire of trick shots and showmanship. Pulling the net down for his teammate, volleying with his back to the net and serving with five balls in his hand were the underhand tactics that helped him and Jim Courier defeat Stefan Edberg and John Fitzgerald on a tie-break. The highlight of the match came when three balls were in play with both sets of players conducting volleying rallies across the net. Even the umpire couldn't help but laugh.