Siemerink sunk in Mac attack
AMERICAN Patrick McEnroe overcame a late bout of nerves to beat Dutchman Jan Siemerink and become the first player to eliminate a seeded opponent in this year's Hongkong Salem Open yesterday.
McEnroe, the 26-year-old younger brother of tennis legend John, was awarded a wild card into the main draw and responded by knocking out eighth-seeded Siemerink 6-4, 6-4 on Victoria Park's Centre Court.
After winning the first set 6-4, McEnroe established a 5-0 lead in the second but allowed the 23-year-old Monte Carlo-based Dutchman to close the gap to 5-4.
But McEnroe, who is ranked 118th in the world, 73 places below Siemerink, broke back to clinch victory in two sets.
Said McEnroe: ''When I led 5-3 in the second set I started to get a bit of nerves.
''He played some good points to make it 5-4 and then I just had to treat it like I was starting a new match.'' McEnroe's reward for beating Siemerink is a quarter-final tie against the top seed and defending champion Jim Courier, who beat Britain's Jeremy Bates 6-1, 6-4 in 75 minutes.
It will be their first meeting and McEnroe said: ''Obviously I am the big underdog but it's a great opportunity for me.'' McEnroe's older brother is never too far away from the spotlight, though, and his involvement in a Davis Cup dispute stirred up trouble in the States last week.
After the US lost their recent tie 4-1 in Australia, captain Tom Gorman has come under fire from McEnroe, who has expressed his interest in taking over as captain after a distinguished playing career for his country.
Patrick said: ''John has his own opinions but getting personalities involved - if he did that - is not the best way to go about it.
''I think he would be a great captain and I think all the players realise that and would like to see him captain.'' Asked if it was right that the top players should virtually decide who should be captain, McEnroe replied: ''I think it makes sense that the players should have more of a say but I do not think they should make the final decision.
''They should have an input but I'm not saying they should dictate everything that happens.'' On court yesterday, British number one Bates lost his opening two service games to trail 5-0 to Courier, who wrapped up the first set 6-1 in 29 minutes.
As Bates picked up the pace of the match in the second set, Courier managed just one break but it was enough to take it 6-4.
After the second-round tie, Bates said he had been ''royally screwed'' because of a clash of dates between Davis Cup commitments and satellite events in which he should have been defending 150 computer points.
As for his match with Courier, Bates admitted: ''He does not let you play and it is not very easy to get yourself into the game at all.'' Courier said: ''I played pretty well and started strongly - it was nice to get off to an early start.'' Commenting on his relaxed approach on court, despite losing the number one ranking to compatriot Pete Sampras, Courier said: ''I am just trying not to explode on court and to keep my emotions in check.'' Under the points system adopted by the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour, Courier stands to lose more computer ranking points this week if he fails to defend his Hongkong title.
But Courier said the pressure did not bother him.
''If you are worried about defending points, do not earn them in the first place.'' Another seeded player to negotiate the second round yesterday was Israel's Amos Mansdorf, the fourth seed, who beat Frenchman Guillaume Raoux 6-3, 6-1.
In the final match on Centre Court last night, sixth-seeded New Zealander Brett Steven had to work tremendously hard to see off wild card entry Tommy Ho 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.