Injuries may put Rios out of final

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 April, 2006, 12:00am

Marcelo Rios booked his place in today's Chevalier Champions final with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Mark Woodforde... and then dropped a bombshell - he might not be fit enough to play in it.

'My elbow has been hurting since last week,' said the Chilean, holding an ice pack to his arm, after having physiotherapy to relieve the pain.

'And it seems to be getting worse. I don't know if I can play tomorrow, it all depends on how I feel when wake up,' said the 30-year-old, who is set to face Austrian Thomas Muster in the final.

He also complained about a back injury, which forced him into retirement from professional tennis in 2004. 'The [back] injury started four years ago; I still feel pain after playing.

'However, I am playing good tennis at the moment and I am confident that if I get enough rest overnight, I can win the final.'

Despite his problems, Rios proved too hot to handle for Australian Woodforde, who was unable to handle the Chilean's firepower from the baseline, making it seven wins out of seven for the former world number one on the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions.

Rios is set to play Muster for the trophy at 3pm today. The final is a re-run of Rios' debut on the tour in Doha last week, where he prevailed 6-3, 6-1 in a one-sided encounter.

Assured of a spot in the final after beating Pat Cash on Friday, 1995 French Open champion Muster seemed to take it easy on the court, succumbing to Henri Leconte 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

A Red Bull propelled charismatic Frenchman Leconte to victory over the Austrian after trailing in the first set.

Former Wimbledon champion Cash knocked home favourite Mark Kratzmann out of the tournament, thrashing him in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.

The victory earned Cash a spot in the third-place play-off against Cedric Pioline, who swept aside Anders Jarryd 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).


Third place play-off (1.30pm): Cedric Pioline v Pat Cash. Final (3pm): Thomas Muster v Marcelo Rios.