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Blake to debut in ATP Masters

American James Blake claimed the final spot in the elite eight-player tennis Masters Cup

india Updated: Nov 07, 2006 22:54 IST

American James Blake claimed the final spot in the elite eight-player tennis Masters Cup and will be making his first appearance in the prestigious tournament, to be held at the Qi Zhong Stadium here from November 12-19.

Blake secured his qualification on Saturday after the lone remaining contender, Germany’s Tommy Haas (12th), lost in the semi-final of the BNP Paris Masters to Dominik Hrbaty. The Amercian qualified with a 14-point lead over No 9 Mario Ancic.

“Qualifying for the Masters Cup is a great accomplishment,” said Blake. “It’s not something I set as a goal, but I am honoured to be considered among the game’s elite.”

The 26-year-old Blake has compiled his best career season, finishing in the top 10 for the first time and capturing five ATP titles on three continents in seven finals.

His five titles — in Sydney, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Bangkok and Stockholm — tied Blake with Rafael Nadal in second place for most titles won in 2006, behind ATP World No 1 Roger Federer with 11.

Blake broke into the top 10 in March after reaching his first ATP Masters Series final, at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, and became the first African-American to rank in Top 10 since Arthur Ashe in 1980.

Blake joins an elite field that includes fellow American Andy Roddick, Federer, Nadal, Davydenko, reigning Tennis Masters Cup champion David Nalbandian and Tommy Robredo.

Federer ‘100 per cent’ fit

SHANGHAI: Roger Federer has said he is “100 per cent” fit for the Masters Cup.

Federer, plagued by an ankle injury, said he had no health worries after skipping last week’s Paris Masters citing fatigue.

“I came to Shanghai last year with injuries, but I have 100 per cent confidence in my health situation this year,” Federer said.

“Fitness-wise, I am perfect. There are no concerns over ankles, knees and so on after such a demanding season. I just can’t wait to hit the first ball on the court.”

First Published: Nov 07, 2006 22:54 IST