Germany's David Prinosil achieved one of the biggest surprises on the ATP Tour this year and the largest pay day of his career, $137,000, by beating Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2 to win the Halle Open as a wild card entry.
Prinosil served out aggressively for the set and bayed on by 12,000 fellow Germans, became inspired. "I wasn't too surprised," said Krajicek. "Once somebody gets on a roll, anything goes, and you know everything can go his way."
"My volleys were pathetic and I don't know why but your attitude has to be Zen - total acceptance. You know that on grass anything can happen."
Suddenly Prinosil, who had failed nine times to survive first round matches this year and who has a reputation for getting nervous in big win situations, was hurtling towards the third title of his career.
He broke Krajicek again at the start of the second set, whipping returns to the feet of the big man, eliciting a short volley or half-volley, and then scampering hungrily for the kill with hard-to-read passes.
This early blow left Prinosil with plenty of time to think about the idea of snatching a famous victory, and yet he never hinted at faltering till required to save a break back point in the final game.
"I think that was the best I have returned in my life," said Prinosil. "It feels fantastic. Now I know that I am on the way back up."
Although he is back up fully 80 places in the ATP Tour Champions Race as a result of this triumph, Prinosil climbs only to 67 and will be required to qualify for Wimbledon.
By contrast Krajicek probably still fancies himself as a contender for Wimbledon, though the defeat may have spoilt his chances of the committee making him one of the 16 seeds and over-ruling the entry system in which he is ranked in the twenties - (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)