Malisse and Enqvist through to semi-finals

On the first day of the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions in Brussels, Xavier Malisse and Thomas Enqvist are through to the semi-finals of the ATP Champions Tour.

Xavier Malisse beat his pal Olivier Rochus with 6-3 and 7-5 in an all-Belgian game. In 2004 they won the men’s doubles tournament of Roland Garros as a team. 14 years later, at the David Lloyd Club, both players showed that they haven’t lost their A-game. They amused the crowd with some long rallies and ‘tweeners’, shots between the legs.

“I may have lost this match, but I really enjoyed it. We should do this more often”, Rochus said after the match. “It was fun indeed”, Malisse confirmed. “It was awesome to be on the court with Olivier again. And then the crowd, that there are so many spectators on a normal day of the week, that really pleases me a lot. And what about the atmosphere here at the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions! Unbelievable!”

Malisse’s opponent in the first semi-final on Friday is Thomas Muster. The former world number one from Austria was directly qualified for the semi-finals. The second semi-final is a battle between the Australian Mark Philippoussis (also directly qualified) and Thomas Enqvist. The Swede, once ranked fourth on the world ranking, defeated Henri Leconte with 6-3 and 6-4.

Matches starring the Frenchman are always filled with entertainment and tennis of the highest level. In the second set he gave a racket to the ball kids, so suddenly it was a doubles match. The crowd enjoyed the Roland Garros (1988) finalist’s antics to the fullest, every second of it. “Always funny times with Henri”, said Enqvist, who is already in Brussels for a couple of days. He is really impressed by the David Lloyd Club. “What a terrific location this is, all amid the trees! It is great walking in these forests. I even went for a walk this morning.”

VICTORY FOR MUSTER AND APPELMANS IN DOUBLES MATCH

Today’s last match was a mixed doubles match. Sabine Appelmans and Thomas Muster crossed rackets with Dominique Monami and Mark Philippoussis. During the match it was raining cats and dogs, but even that couldn’t stop the four champions of tennis. In a so-called ‘long set’, Appelmans and Muster got the better of their opponents with 9-8. It was 9/7 in the deciding tie-break.