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Patrick McEnroe advances to Volvo final

By CARRIE MUSKAT UPI Sports Writer

CHICAGO -- Seventh seed Patrick McEnroe, trying to establish himself as something other than John's little brother, Saturday defeated Grant Connell 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first pro final at the $225,000 Volvo Tennis Tournament.

Ironically, the younger McEnroe may have to play John in the final. The elder McEnroe, who is the top seed in the tournament and ranked No. 19 in the world, was scheduled to play MaliVai Washington of Swartz Creek, Mich., in Saturday's other semifinal.

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'I hope he (elder McEnroe) wins,' Patrick said. 'I guess it's better if we play in the final of an event like this than the first round.'

The brothers McEnroe have played once before -- the first round of the Stratton Mountain, Vt., tournament in August 1985. John won 6-1, 6-2.

'My dad would prefer to see us play together than against each other,' said Patrick, who hit against John at the UIC Pavilion to warmup for the semifinal match. 'I've played with John a long time, we've practiced together -- I still don't know where his serve is going.'

Patrick's game is going nowhere but up this season. The 24-year-old, who is ranked in the top 100 for the first time in his career at No. 51, reached the semifinals of the Austrailian Open earlier this year, only to lose to Boris Becker. The Volvo tournament marks his first singles final since his collegiate days at Stanford.

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'It would be nice to go through a week not losing a match,' McEnroe said. 'I haven't done that yet.'

He had to rally against the hard-serving Connell, unseeded and ranked 93rd coming into the event. Connell had lost only two service games in his three matches prior to the semifinal round but McEnroe broke him three times.

'I think there were one, two easy service games in the whole match,' McEnroe said. 'I felt like I was hitting the ball well and I felt that if I kept plugging and fighting, I'd win my points.'

McEnroe survived despite a tough fifth game in the second set, when he reached break point five times and failed to capitalize. Connell won to take a 3-2 lead in the set, and it wasn't until the ninth game that McEnroe broke the 25-year-old Canadian.

'He (McEnroe) was tough,' said Connell, who never has made it past the second round in a Grand Slam event. 'The difference in the match was my lack of first serves. He returned better than the other guys. He just played better on the big points.'

If the McEnroes do meet, they would not be the first brothers to face off in the final of an ATP tournament. Gene Mayer defeated his brother Sandy in Stockholm in 1981; and Emilio Sanchez beat Javier in Madrid in 1987. The Gullicksons, Tim and Tom, have never met in a final, although Tim holds a 2-1 lead in matches against his identical twin.

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