Fish tops Bloomfield, faces Rochus in final
Mardy Fish advanced to the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships final by beating Richard Bloomfield of Great Britain, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, yesterday in Newport, R.I.
The 28-year-old Fish will play No. 4-seeded Olivier Rochus of Belgium, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Brian Dabul of Argentina.
The fifth-seeded Fish will play in his second ATP final of the season today and attempt to capture his fourth career title. He lost to Sam Querrey at Queen’s Club last month. Fish was ranked 79th entering the week.
Rochus, ranked 65th entering the week, is playing in his eighth career ATP final.
“He’s a great player. He went to the final at Queen’s,’’ Rochus said of Fish. “He’s a good player on grass. I’m here in the final. I have nothing to lose against Mardy. It’s going to be a very difficult match.’’
Fish collected two aces in the tiebreaker and closed the first set with a forehand cross to the back corner. Neither player was broken in the first set.
In the second set, Bloomfield, ranked 552d, faulted on eight of nine serves when he was broken in the ninth game — the first time in the match either lost a service game. Fish closed it out at love.
“I’d like to think I put a little pressure to be able to do what he did in that game at 4-all,’’ Fish said. “You have to hold serve out here. If you don’t hold serve, you’re not going to last.’’
Fish held serve at love four of five games in the second set.
“I continued to concentrate as much as I could on my service games,’’ he said. “I think I was aggressive on my service games.’’
The Briton’s first-round victory over Christophe Rochus of Belgium was being reviewed by tennis officials after online gambling exchange Betfair reported that the match attracted unusual action.
Bloomfield was also caught up in a betting controversy after his only ATP win before Newport, coming in 2006 when his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq in the first round at Wimbledon was investigated following irregular patterns.
“I said to him before the match, the only two matches he’s won in his career and there’s been a gambling scandal,’’ Fish said. “He doesn’t seem like that type of guy. Maybe he’s got rich friends.’’
Bloomfield was 1-10 in his career before winning three times on Newport’s grass courts.
“It’s been a great week, a fun week. I’ll remember it forever,’’ he said.
Australia’s Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde headed a class of seven inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Woodbridge and Woodforde were enshrined along with doubles partners Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva.
“This is an amazing day for the Woodies,’’ Woodforde said. “I don’t know if any of us said we’re just going to be doubles players. We just excelled on the doubles court a little more than we did on the singles. As much as we would have loved to win more in the singles titles, we did in doubles.’’
The pair combined for 11 major titles and 61 world tour championships from 1991-2000. They held the record for most doubles titles until it was matched by American’s Bob and Mike Bryan earlier this year.
Fernandez and Zvereva captured 14 grand slam tournament titles together. Fernandez is the first Puerto Rican-born player to be inducted into the Hall.
Brad Parks, the pioneer of wheelchair tennis, was the Hall’s first wheelchair inductee. Owen Davidson also was enshrined in the Master player category along with Derek Hardwick, who was enshrined posthumously.