Scud hot streak dumps ex-champ - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Scud hot streak dumps ex-champ

By Chris Lines 21/01/2004 05:59:50 AM Comments (0)

Mark Philippoussis asserted his Australian Open title credentials with a powerful and intimidating straight sets win over 2002 champion Thomas Johansson in round one.

Inspired by a return to the site of his Davis Cup heroics, No.10 seed Philippoussis struck the same rich vein of form in dumping the Swede 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

His win meant five Australian men advanced to the second round, with Philippoussis joining Lleyton Hewitt, Chris Guccione, Todd Reid and Wayne Arthurs.

Johansson was on the comeback from knee surgery which destroyed his 2003 campaign, resulting in his ranking slipping into the 500s and he was only able to enter with the benefit of a protected ranking from the ATP.

Both players thrilled the Rod Laver Arena crowd with a top-notch first set, with Johansson wasting a set point and then uncharacteristically faltering with a double fault to deliver the opening set to the Australian.

A member of the Philippoussis camp was taken to hospital during the first set, suffering from chest pains and was described by ambulance officials as being in a serious but stable condition.

In the second set Philippoussis put the pedal down, only dropping one point when he got his first serve in and cranking up his forehand winners to cruise to a two sets to love lead.

Philippoussis secured an early break in the third set and such was the authority of his service that there appeared no threat to victory.

But Johansson capitalised on a few errors creeping into Philippoussis' game to make use of his first break point of the night to level the third set at 4-4.

Philippoussis staved off two set points to take the third set into a tie-break which he secured on his fourth match point.

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