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Blake Scheduled For Match Today After Being Forced To Withdraw From Exhibition Match

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake at the SAP OpenJames Blake in San Jose, California at the SAP Open with Back Office Associates CEO Trish Kennedy at the Back Office Associates VIP Reception.

It had more of a Harlem Globetrotters feel than a high-level match, but the crowd at HP Pavilion on Monday night didn't seem all that disappointed.

Not even news that James Blake, Sampras' scheduled opponent, couldn't play because of a bad back dampened the spirit. For the second consecutive year, Tommy Haas pinch hit for an injured player (Marat Safin withdrew last year) and this time got the better of the tennis legend.

Sampras, 37, called Haas a "class act" for "saving the night for the guys here." Haas had played his first-round match an hour earlier, defeating fellow German Lars Poerschke in straight sets.

"A lot of people came to see Pete tonight, so I don't think it was really about who he was going to play," Haas said. "I played him here last year, so I thought maybe I could give him a better show, a better match this time."

Blake, who suffered back spasms during a doubles match Monday, hasn't ruled out being ready for his first-round singles match Wednesday night against Vince Spadea. Shortly before Monday's exhibition, Blake walked onto the court with tournament director Bill Rapp and broke the news to the crowd.

"I'm sorry," Blake said. "I just can't go out there and give it my best. I'm going to go back and visit the trainer. I hope to be out there Wednesday."

Posted by Shelia

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