posted on Jul, 4 2003 @ 02:06 PM
Mark Philippoussis produced some inspired tennis to meet his date with destiny.
The big-serving Australian blew aside the challenge of Sebastien Grosjean to end four years of injury torment and reach his first Wimbledon final.
Unseeded Philippoussis, who had to toil through five sets in each of his two previous matches, blasted the Frenchman off court in under two hours with
a 7-6 6-3 6-3 victory and will now meet fourth seed Roger Federer in Sunday's final.
As he turned to acclaim his Greek-born father and newly re-appointed coach Nick, the 26-year-old Philippoussis' mind flashed back two years to the
time he was confined to a wheelchair following career-threatening knee surgery.
"After the third operation, I pretty much told myself never to look too far ahead," he said. "I've just taken it a day at a time since then.
"I've been through a lot. But everything in life happens for a reason. I've always said that. So everything's been worthwhile."
Philippoussis almost paid the price for a slow start in his quarter-final win over Alexander Popp but he was quickly out of the blocks on Friday as he
raced to his first Grand Slam final since he was runner-up to Pat Rafter in the US Open final in 1998.
He was virtually untouchable on his own serve and, although he came up with just 11 aces to add to the 153 from his previous five matches, he allowed
his opponent just two break points and averted the danger each time with booming serves.