Enqvist gets show back on the road
FOURTH seed Thomas Enqvist of Sweden met some unexpected resistance from 91st-ranked German David Prinosil before claiming his place in the quarter-finals of the rain-hit US$328,000 Salem Hong Kong Open at Victoria Park yesterday.
Enqvist, ranked 20th in the world, needed two hours to beat Prinosil 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4 and set up a quarter-final clash with his compatriot, Jonas Bjorkman.
Fifth-seeded Bjorkman disposed of Canadian Greg Rusedski 7-5, 6-4 in his second-round match.
The 21-year-old Enqvist caused a sensation earlier this year when he beat new world number one Andre Agassi and Michael Chang to win in Philadelphia.
But he does not, as yet, consider himself in the same class as the players he beat to capture his third career title.
'They are such good players, I don't really want to compare myself to them,' said Enqvist, who underwent surgery on both knees last year.
Expected to meet second-seeded South African Wayne Ferreira in the semi-finals, Enqvist is hoping to rediscover the form which took him to the Philadelphia title.
'In Philadelphia, I had one of those tournaments which you sometimes have when I played good all week,' said Enqvist, 1991 Wimbledon and Australian Open junior champion.
But he feels there still needs to be some improvements in his game if he is to consistently do well on the circuit.
His first serve, when successful, can clock around 200 km/h, but Enqvist, who is trying to build a style that can be competitive on grass, said: 'I'm trying to get in quickly behind my serve.
'I do it in practice but I don't have the confidence to do it in matches.' Enqvist got off to a bright start against Prinosil by breaking in the opening game, although the German broke back soon to level the set at 2-2. The Swede led 5-2 in the tie-break but Prinosil, helped by two aces, stormed back to take the next five points and clinch the first set.
Prinosil collapsed in the second set, Enqvist breaking twice to level the score at one set all.
The final set looked like it, too, would be decided by a tie-breaker with the score at 4-4 when Prinosil succumbed to the pressure.
In the last afternoon match on Centre Court, fans had a chance to see third-seeded Courier in doubles action.
But the American will not be playing doubles again this week. Courier and his partner, Switzerland's Jakob Hlasek, were beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Kelly Jones and David Pate in the first round.
In a Tuesday night doubles match, American Tommy Ho and Australian Mark Philippoussis advanced to the second round with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win over Peter Nyborg and Mark Keil.
Top seeds in the doubles, Jan Apell and Bjorkman and second seeds, Jim Grabb and Jonathan Stark safely advanced to the second round.
ORDER OF PLAY Centre Court: 2 pm - Jim Courier v Jonathan Stark. Followed by: Michael Chang v Alex Radulescu. Not before: 6.30 pm - Tommy Ho v Alexander Volkov. Not before: 8 pm - Jeff Tarango v Wayne Ferreira. Court One: 2 pm - Martin Damm v Jan Apell. Followed by: Kenneth Carlsen v Jan Siemerink. Followed by: Jan Apell and Jonas Bjorkman v Kelly Jones and David Pate. Court Two: 2 pm - Luis Herrera and Laurence Tieleman v John Fitzgerald and Anders Jarryd. Followed by: Thomas Enqvist and Greg Rusedski v Scott Davis and Brian Macphie.