Sunday, August 08, 1999

Arthurs among qualifier threats


Australian riding high since Wimbledon

BY DAVE SCHUTTE
Enquirer contributor

        If Wayne Arthurs fails to earn a spot in the Great American Insurance ATP Championship main draw, many of the top players will breathe a sigh of relief.

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        “I would hope that they don't want me in the tournament,” said Arthurs, a 28-year-old from Melbourne, Australia. “I didn't serve well today, but right now this is the best I've played.”

        Following a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Michael Hill Saturday in the ATP qualifier, Arthurs is one victory away from earning a spot in the main draw.

        But Arthurs must defeat Max Mirnyi today in one of the seven qualifying matches. The winners will be awarded spots in the main draw of the tournament that begins Monday.

        Players fear Arthurs for good reason. He's a 6-foot-4 left-hander who reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon before falling to Andre Agassi in four sets.

        During that run that included six victories, three in the qualifier, Arthurs served 111 consecutive games without a break. It took Agassi until the third set to break through.

        The following week in Newport, R.I., a more confident Arthurs reached the semifinals of a tournament for the first time, serving 59 consecutive games before suffering a break.

        “My serve has been clocked at about 130 miles per hour,” Arthurs said. “It was very ef fective on the grass at Wimbledon, but the hard courts are a better surface for me.”

        A virtual unknown until last year, Arthurs' rise to the top 100 (he's 96th now) began in 1998 after he sat out 10 months following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left elbow.

        “I had a lot of time to think about my game during the layoff,” Arthurs said. “When I came back, I played a lot of doubles with Mark Kratzmann, but I had to try singles again.”

        Arthurs also hired Brent Karkham as coach.

        “I had a coach when I first started,” Arthurs said. “I went without one for years until I hired Brent. He has been very good for my game.”

        When asked about the mental aspect of the game, Arthurs smiled.

        “I use to be cranky, and everything got to me,” Arthurs said. “I showed a lot of emotion, but now I'm under control. This may be boring to the crowd but is probably the biggest improvement I've made.”

        DAYTON'S FOSTER OUT: Arthurs' opponent to day, No.120 Mirnyi, advanced by defeating Dayton's Marq Foster 6-3, 6-2.

        The only upset Saturday was turned in by No.262 Michael Joyce, a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 winner over No.153 Todd Woodbridge.

Agassi's return stokes Sampras' fire
ATP schedule and bracket
- Arthurs among qualifier threats
ATP qualifier results and schedule
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