Malisse and Philippoussis to contest the final

Xavier Malisse and Mark Philippoussis will decide who wins the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions in Brussels. Malisse beat Thomas Muster his semi-final, while Philippoussis defeated Thomas Enqvist after a super tie-break.

Malisse had a tough afternoon against the 13 year older Muster, but as a former world number one the Austrian is not easy to beat. Malisse took home a tight first set with 7-5 and then won the second in 6-3. “It was a fun match against Thomas,” said Malisse. “He certainly didn’t give it away. Especially in the first set I had to dig deep to win it. In the second set I was physically fresher.”

Muster conceded the best man on the day won. “I think it’s fine that with Xavier there’s a Belgian in the final of this tournament. I think he has a good chance to win the title. He’s still playing well,” said an honest Muster, who made a lot of fans in Uccle. The Austrian delivered a perfect imitation of Rafael Nadal and made time to joke around with the line judge and the ball boys.”

SUPER TIE-BREAK

Thomas Enqvist started well in the second semi-final against Mark Philippoussis. The Swede grabbed the first set with 6-2, partly due to many unforced errors for Philippoussis. The Australian switched gears in the second set and his serve and volley tactics paid off as he won in 7-6. In the deciding super tie-break Philippoussis finished off the game with 10-7.

APPELMANS AND ROCHUS WIN MIXED DOUBLES

Sabine Appelmans and Olivier Rochus triumphed in the doubles tournament. The Belgian duo won a so-called ‘long set’ with 8-4 against Dominique Monami/Henri Leconte. Leconte, a born entertainer, gave the crowd a great show.

“It’s the first time I formed a duo with Oliver, but we played well together,” Appelmans said. “I don’t play that often anymore, but I really enjoyed bringing out the racquets for this super tournament.”