For those who didn't see it on the tournament page....
For some reason, I just discovered it myself, so maybe somebody else also didn't notice it!
The wait was worth it for Nicolas Kiefer as the German finally stepped onto court into the heat of battle to advance in his opening match Wednesday at the RCA Championships.
Bill Scott, Wednesday, July 20
INDIANAPOLIS -- The wait was worth it for Nicolas Kiefer as the German finally stepped onto court into the heat of battle to advance in his opening match Wednesday at the RCA Championships.
Early-bird Kiefer has been in steamy Indy for a week, training hard and getting his body acclimated to the summer conditions, a necessary prerequisite for victory at the hard court summer challenge.
The result of the hard work was obvious as the second seed defeated France's Antony Dupuis 7-5, 6-4.
"I came really early and tried to prepare," said Kiefer, whose last two ATP trophies were earned in long-ago 2000. "I had good practice here. It was very humid last week, much more than today."
"I was fighting the whole time in this match, I'm pleased with the way that I played. I'm a long way from my best tennis, but it's getting better."
Kiefer lost the 2004 final to Andy Roddick and is theoretically seeded for another showdown with the American on Sunday. Last year, the player they call "Kiwi" played and lost four hard court finals in the States: Scottsdale, Memphis, and Los Angeles in addition to Indy.
But disillusionment at the hard slog required does diminish the fervor for Kiefer. "Of course, it's much better when you win those events," he admitted. "But if winning another title would have been so easy, I would have done it by now.
"I played great until the end of last year when I injured my wrist. But there's no doubt - I have many years left, I'm still young," said the 28-year-old. "I have many years left, that's why I go onto the court. I still want to achieve something big."
Kiefer said that his pre-event preparation was a good investment of time. "But there's a difference between practice and a real match, the most important thing is to try and play your best shots and win."
Kiefer was joined as a winner by another player who has been struggling to find his best form, Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan, like the German an RCA losing finalist (2003).
Paradorn beat another French player, Gregory Carraz, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), then said that his own game is looking up as he strives to improve his current No. 43 after once standing ninth in the world.
The Asian has a lot of work to do after winning only one match at a Grand Slam so far this season. Paradorn improved his 2005 mark to 15-19.
"I was a little tired," said Paradorn after his win over Carraz, a 2004 semi-finalist. "I'm trying to regain my level this year. I've dropped but I've still been playing a lot of tennis. My ranking is down, but I'm still hungry.
"I still have my desire, even if people in Thailand expect me to win everything. I want to return to the Top 20."
BTW, at this tournament livescore, does somebody know a way to look at the stats after the match was played? (like it's offered at some other tournament live scoreboards)
I would like to take a rough glance at the stats if possible...