Briefly / Tennis: Bates finally reaches a final

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The Independent Online
Jeremy Bates has advanced to his first mainstream tour final at the age of 31 and today at the Korean Open in Seoul could become the first British male to win a tour title since Mark Cox 17 years ago, writes John Roberts. Bates plays Joern Renzenbrink, a German 10 years his junior and ranked 18 places above him at No 113 in the world. In the semi-finals, the British No 1 defeated the Dutchman Jan Siemerink, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6. As the final set with Siemerink moved into a tie-break, Bates was determined to do himself justice. 'I couldn't help thinking I'd lost a third-set tie-break to Sandon Stolle in Hong Kong last week,' he said. 'I told myself to at least go out and enjoy it. It worked.' Bates won the shoot-out 7-4. In 1977, Cox won the Scandinavian Covered Courts Championship in Helsinki, beating Kjell Johansson, of Sweden, in the final. The previous year, Cox won the Stockholm Open, defeating Jimmy Connors in the semi- finals and Manuel Orantes in the final. Nick Brown was the last Briton to reach a final. He was the runner-up to the German Eric Jelen in the pre-Wimbledon tournament at Bristol in 1989.