Stich loses on competitive return
Eurosport - Tue, 21 Jul 23:24:00 2009
Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich's return to competitive action 12 years after his retirement lasted only 62 minutes, losing in the first round of the doubles at the German Open in Hamburg.
Stich, 40, joined up with 21-year-old Mischa Zverev but the German duo were beaten 6-4 6-2 by the Swedish-Australian pair of Simon Aspelin and Paul Hanley, much to the disappointment of the watching 4,000 fans.
Stich, who won Wimbledon in 1991 and was also a French Open and US Open finalist, won a total 18 career titles and reached a career-high ranking of number two before retiring in 1997.
As tournament director of the German Open, which lost its Masters status this year and was moved to the unattractive - for clay courts - July date, Stich gave himself and Zverev a wildcard to add some spice to the competition and raise its profile.
Stich is not the only retired player to make a brief doubles comeback.
Former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe, partnered by Swede Jonas Bjorkman, won the San Jose doubles tournament in 2006 aged 47, 14 years after his last title.
Premier League - Man tells court of Gerrard 'attack'
Eurosport - Wed, 22 Jul 12:56:00 2009
The businessman allegedly attacked by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in a bar room brawl told a court he faced a "barrage" of blows from the player when he refused to hand over control of a CD player.
Marcus McGee, 34, lost a front tooth crown in the attack in the early hours of December 29 last year, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
McGee, who was initially attacked by one of Gerrard's friends, said he thought the 29-year-old England midfielder struck the first blow.
"I remember a barrage of punches coming in at my face but I didn't know who has done what," he said.
"Having watched the CCTV it was obvious Steven Gerrard hits me a couple of times, maybe three times but I couldn't honestly say on the night. I didn't know who did what."
McGee, who was in charge of music for the night at the Lounge Bar in Southport near Liverpool, said he had refused to let Gerrard take control of a CD player.
Gerrard later returned when McGee was sitting alone at the bar and swore at him.
"In my statement I didn't recall the conversation but looking at my hand movements I was asking him how he would react if somebody came up to him and wanted to take something off him in a manner I found to be rude," McGee told the court.
On Tuesday, the court was shown security camera footage of Gerrard talking to McGee before one of Gerrard's co-defendants elbowed the businessman.
The prosecution then said Gerrard hit the businessman with the "style and speed of a professional boxer".
The jury was also told Gerrard admitted hitting McGee but said he was acting in self defence, unaware the businessman had already been struck.
"I didn't throw any punches, I wasn't acting aggressively, I didn't hit anyone at all," McGee told the court.
Gerrard was arrested on the night - a day after he scored twice in a 5-1 win away to Newcastle United - and later pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray.
The Liverpool player's six co-defendants have already pleaded guilty to being involved in the brawl.
Tursonov sees off mis-firing Berrer
Eurosport - Wed, 22 Jul 11:06:00 2009
Tursunov, who won the Eastbourne grass title but lost in the Wimbledon first round a few days later, was hardly the picture of confidence, but he was not complaining at the end of the opening-round victory over his German opponent.
"I'm not serving that great now, as I haven't played since Wimbledon," said Tursunov. "I can hit two or three good shots and then a bad one. But today he served terrible and that helped me.
"I'm not playing that well myself right now - but I have to be patient."
Tursunov, the 2007 Indy champion and last year's runner-up to absent Frenchman Gilles Simon, will next face either American Taylor Dent or Brazil's Marcos Daniel, who had trouble getting a timely air flight from Colombia where he won a Challenger at the weekend.
Surprising second seed Dudi Sela continued his recent red-hot pace as the Israeli sent home American veteran Vince Spadea 7-5 6-1.
The number 29 who helped his nation to a Davis Cup quarter-final upset of Russia after playing in the Wimbledon fourth round is taking full advantage of the highest tournament seeding of his career.
With most Europeans unwilling to travel to the US to start the hardcourt season a full six weeks before opening day at the US Open, willing outsiders like Sela are making up the numbers for the next few events.
"I may have been fifth or sixth before, but never second," said 24-year-old Sela. "When you are ranked 29th, it's not normal to be seeding this high.
"But I'll take it. I think my game has really been improving a lot recently. I'm just playing more solid," he said after advancing in an hour and a quarter.
Spadea, who recently turned 35, was a finalist here in 1999. He also lost to Sela on hardcourt in Washington last summer.
Russian Igor Kunitsyn, member of the defeated Russian Davis Cup side, is another unlikely seed who shined, earning a defeat of Argentine Brian Dabul 6-4 6-1.