In an almost repeat performance from his last PowerShares event in Philadelphia, Patrick Rafter snapped up his second title in a row over John McEnroe in the finals of the NASDAQ Indexes Cup in New York City.
Playing at the world famous Madison Square Garden, the two time U.S. Open champion first saw off Pete Sampras in the first semifinal of the night. Sampras, who was dealing with a calf strain, couldn’t hold back Rafter’s serve and volley game as Rafter won 6-3.
The second semifinal featured Andre Agassi against McEnroe in an encounter that saw McEnroe jump out to a 4-0 lead before Agassi, competing in his first event of the season, roared back to break McEnroe’s serve twice in the set. But McEnroe held off Agassi’s late charge to finally win 6-4.
Meeting each other again in the finals as they did a few days ago in Philadelphia, Rafter and McEnroe once again tried to out duel the other man from the net. But it was Rafter who once again prevailed in the eight game pro set 8-3.
“It’s just a thrill for me to be back out here competing in front of the fans again,” said Rafter afterwards to the PowerShares.com site. “I had never played in this building, so what an added thrill, and a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the fans enough for coming out tonight to watch us play, in light of what this part of the country has been through lately. I hope we were able to provide some good entertainment.”
By reaching the finals, McEnroe maintained his slim 100 point lead on top of the PowerShares Series rankings over Sampras who still sits at No. 2. With his back to back title runs, Rafter is now tied with Jim Courier at third place at 800 points each.
Players compete for points throughout the series with a $1 million dollars of bonus pool money up for grabs for those that finish in the top three at the end of the season.
The next stop on the tour will be in Tampa, Florida at the Champions Challenge. The event will feature McEnroe and Courier along with Michael Chang and Mats Wilander.