12 Jan 2012

Small man beats big man in Auckland

9:11 pm on 12 January 2012

Diminutive Belgian tennis veteran Olivier Rochus has ended the impressive run of lanky French qualifier Benoit Paire at the Heineken Open, in an epic rain-delayed quarter-final match in Auckland.

Rochus headed off centre court a set up over Paire when the rain came... but after a break of around two and a half hours the 30-year-old lost the second set in a tiebreak, then went down 4-2 in the third to the 22-year-old.

But Rochus, who at just 168 centimetres tall is the shortest man in the tournament, overhauled the big-serving one-point-nine-six metre Paire to win the third set in a tiebreak, taking the match 6-3 6-7 7-6.

Rochus now plays former champion Phillip Kohlschreiber of Germany in Friday's semi-finals, after Kohlschreiber upset second seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain in straight sets.