Leach-Ferreira take lead in rain-delayed match
By Avinash Nair
BANGALORE, FEB. 1. The final of the Touchtel World Doubles Challenge Cup tennis championship here was hit by rain, and a steady drizzle which fell through the afternoon and later in the evening forced the organisers to delay the start by over two hours.
The match at the KSLTA Stadium here, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. started only at 7-10 p.m. and the heavy conditions saw slow pace of play.
Both pairs, the Czechs Pavel Vizner and Petr Pala and their rivals American Rick Leach and South African Ellis Ferreira played a tentative game. At the time of going to press the Leach- Ferreira duo was leading 2-1 in the best-of-five sets contest.
In the first set, which went with serve till the tie breaker, the Czech duo, down 5-6 grabbed the next three points with Pala closing the set with a down-the-middle volley.
Leach and Ferreira moved better in the second set and cut down the margin of errors with sound play. After Pala dropped serve in the fourth game, Leach returned the compliment in the seventh game and that set too spilled into a tie-breaker.
With Leach playing a pivotal role with some superb returns, the pair took the second set at 7-6 (7-2) and thus tied the match at one set all. The third set saw Pala making quite a few unforced errors and conceding the set to Leach and Ferreira at 6-4.
While the Czechs are looking for their maiden World doubles title, though an unofficial one, the veteran American Leach at 37, is gunning for the third title. He had earlier won the World Doubles crown with Jim Pugh in 1988 and then almost a decade later with Jonathan Stark in 1997.
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