Kiefer outlasts Philippoussis in Hong Kong

German tennis ace Nicolas Kiefer outlasted Mark Philippoussis of Australia 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 today to win the $375,000 Salem Hong Kong Open.

German tennis ace Nicolas Kiefer outlasted Mark Philippoussis of Australia 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 today to win the $375,000 Salem Hong Kong Open.

Third-seed Kiefer survived a mid-match slump before overpowering the fourth-seed Australian to capture his second tournament this year. He had earlier won the Dubai Open in February.

Kiefer's win added to Germany's sporting success over England in the World Cup qualifying soccer tournament on Saturday and Michael Schumacher being crowned Formula One champion in Tokyo on Sunday.

"It's been a great weekend. We did it. Yesterday I hoped this would happen and it has. I'm really happy for Germany," said Kiefer.

An erratic Philippoussis struggled to find his range with his groundstrokes and also earned the wrath of the chair umpire after smashing his racket at the start of the third set, having double-faulted twice to lose his service for the first time in the match.

"It was so frustrating. I had been serving well and suddenly to go and give it to him like that was so unfortunate," said Philippoussis.

Kiefer, 23, was put under enormous pressure right from the outset when he survived three breaks in the very first game of the match and then saved another two service breaks in the fifth game before winning the set on a tie-break.

Philippoussis, who defeated Patrick Rafter in the semifinals, came back strongly in the second set, breaking the German twice to win 6-2.

But the 23-year-old Australian failed to find his rhythm and lost his first two service games in the deciding set to hand Kiefer victory in just over two hours.

Kiefer, who collected $49,500, upset second-seed Tim Henman of Britain 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals.

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