ORLANDO – Mardy Fish defeated good friend and former U.S. Davis Cup teammate James Blake 6-3 in the one-set championship match Thursday to win the Champions Challenge at the USTA National Campus, his fourth career title on the Invesco Series QQQ tennis circuit.
The tournament, played in front of a sold-out crowd at the hard court stadium at the USTA’s new state-of-the-art training center, concluded the 10-event North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. The win marked the second straight tournament where Fish defeated Blake in the final after beating him in Los Angeles at the SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup at the Sherwood Country Club in October.
“I’m tired, my back hurts, and it’s really cold,” joked Fish of how he felt after the win over Blake on the 55-degree evening in Central Florida.
Fish also won Invesco Series QQQ titles in 2017 in Newport, R.I. and in New Haven, Connecticut. The former world No. 7 and the silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games, Fish grew up just 90 minutes down the road from the USTA National Campus in Vero Beach, Florida but now resides in Los Angeles. His parents Tom and Sally were in attendance Thursday to once again see their 36-year-old son win a tennis tournament.
“It’s great that I get to come down here and spend some time with them. It worked out great,” said Fish of spending time with his parents earlier in the week in Vero Beach. “It’s obviously nice to sleep in your own childhood home’s bed a couple of times without anyone but them in the house. It’s interesting. You’re never really home with just them. You always have family and friends around; so, It was nice to be home.”
Despite the loss, Blake concludes the 2018 Invesco Series QQQ as the year-long points champion for the first time. Blake, the former world No. 4, won titles this year in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
Blake advanced into the championship match by beating former world No. 1 and two-time French and Australian Open champion and Orlando resident Jim Courier 6-3. Fish beat former U.S. Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri 6-4 in the other semifinal. Ginepri was a late replacement for 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick, who was forced to withdraw from the event with a right shoulder injury sustained in training.
The full slate of events on the 2018 Invesco Series QQQ can be found below. The 2019 schedule of events will be announced soon.
2018 Invesco Series QQQ Results
April 7: Charleston, SC (Family Circle Tennis Center) F: Tommy Haas def. Andy Roddick 6-1; SF: Tommy Haas def. Michael Chang 6-2; Andy Roddick def. Mark Philippoussis 6-3
May 5, 6: Kohala Coast, HI (Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows) F: Tommy Haas def. John McEnroe 7-5 SF: Tommy Haas def. Mardy Fish 6-3, John McEnroe def. Jim Courier 6-3
May 17: Toronto, ON (Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre) F: Mark Philippoussis d. John McEnroe 7-5, SF: Mark Philippoussis d. James Blake 7-6 (5); John McEnroe d. Jim Courier 6-2.
July 22: Newport, RI (International Tennis Hall of Fame) F: Lleyton Hewitt d. Tommy Haas 7-6(2) SF: Lleyton Hewitt d. James Blake 6-3; Tommy Haas d. Jim Courier 6-3
August 19: Winston-Salem, NC (Wake Forest University) F: James Blake d. Andy Roddick 6-1 SF: Andy Roddick d. Robby Ginepri 7-6 (4); James Blake d. Michael Chang 6-3
August 23/24: New Haven, CT (Yale University) F: James Blake d. John McEnroe 6-4 SF: John McEnroe d. Todd Martin 6-3, James Blake d. Tommy Haas 6-4
October 4: St. Louis, MO (Chaifetz Arena) F: Mark Philippoussis d. Jim Courier 6-1; SF: Jim Courier d. John McEnroe 7-6(3), Mark Philippoussis d. Andy Roddick 6-3
October 5: Houston, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) F: James Blake d. John McEnroe 7-6(3) SF: John McEnroe d. Jim Courier 6-3, James Blake d. Andy Roddick 7-6 (4)
October 21: Los Angeles, CA (Sherwood Country Club) F: Mardy Fish d. James Blake 6-3; SF: Mardy Fish d. Tommy Haas 7-6(3), James Blake d. Andy Roddick 6-2
December 6: Orlando (USTA National Campus) F: Mardy Fish d. James Blake 6-3, SF: James Blake d. Jim Courier 6-3, Mardy Fish d. Robby Ginepri 6-4.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.
In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.
In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.
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InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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