Mark won his first round match at Calabasas, defeating Ram 6-4, 6-3. Mark will next face Harel Levy of Israel in the second round on Thursday. Mark has also been announced as playing with Molik at the Hopman Cup this January in Perth.
A correction to yesterday’s posting: Mark’s first round match against Ram is tonight, not last night. He’s scheduled for the last match of the day, which should start sometime after 8pm California time.
Mark is indeed playing in the Calabasas Challenger this week in California and his first match will be later tonight against Rajeev Ram of the United States (ranked 237). Two articles from the Australian press added that speak of Mark’s work with Cahill and how he is trying to draw inspiration from Agassi. Hopefully Mark can turn it around and start winning some matches again.
Last night was not exactly Mark’s night as he lost 6-7 (2-7), 5-7 to Mark Warburg, a player nearly 100 places lower than Mark’s current 131st. While the score looks close, Mark’s play was rather disappointing with errors coming at critical points. The Calabasas Challenger in Calfornia starts next week and while no players are currently listed on their site, it’s possible that Mark will try for this event as well. Mark is scheduled to compete in the Ford Tennis Championship challenger event in Louisville, TN starting October 30th.
Mark returns to the court today at the Swanston Challenger in Sacramento, California. His first round match will be tonight against Sam Warburg of the US – the match will start at 8pm pacfic time. Mark is the number four seed at this event. (Thanks to Nicholas for the news!) The Sacramento Bee reports that “Philippoussis, in fact, spent the last two weeks working with Agassi’s trainer, Gil Reyes, and coach, Australian Darren Cahill, in Agassi’s hometown of Las Vegas.” Assuming he’s willing to listen and follow through Gil is just the man to get Mark back into shape.
Mark withdrew from the Bronx Tennis Classic yesterday due to the bone bruise on the toe. Now Mark’s tennis life is going to become very tricky – he’s applied to the US Open for a direct wildcard, he might have to have a playoff with fellow Aussies for the Tennis Australia wildcard, if he gets neither he may have to qualify, but he’s also applied for a wildcard into the Pilot Pen which runs directly opposite the US Open qualifying.
August 11, 2006: Although Mark did not start off the match well, he was able to pull his fame together and defeat Cakl 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the dBI Challenger. Mark has been showing some excellent form this week with some relative consistency on both serve and groundstrokes. Post-match yesterday Mark spoke about playing better when he’s more aggressive and that as he plays more matches he’s getting back into the form of that kind of play. Here’s hoping he can take that confidence with him back to the main circuit. In his semifinal match Mark will play Scott Oudsema with play starting at 2pm EST. There has been no update on whether Tennis Australia will grant Mark their US Open wildcard, or whether he’ll have to play off against his fellow Aussies for the spot.
August 10, 2006: Mark advanced to the quarterfinals today defeating Okun 7-5, 6-1 in their second round match. Mark’s next opponent will be Tomas Cakl of the Czech Republic. Unfortunately there’s next to no major press at the dBI Challenger so other than results there’s been no word on Mark’s level of play.
August 8, 2006: Mark won his first round match at the dBI Tennis Challenger tonight, defeating Martin Lee 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3. His next opponent will be Noam Okun on Thursday.
August 6, 2006: Mark’s first round opponent in the dBI Tennis Challenger will be Martin Lee of Great Britain. He will take the court on Tuesday.