The best rags-to-riches story in tennis this year has come at the end. The millionaires may be gathering in London next week for the eight-man ATP World Finals, but here at the BNP Paribas Masters, a 21-year-old qualifier will be receiving a check Sunday for more money than he has ever seen in his life.
The fairy tale continued for Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in the semifinal, where he beat a top-20 player for the fifth consecutive match this week by outplaying experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-5.
As soon as he produced one of his trademark drop shots to clinch match point, Janowicz - all 6-foot-8 of him - fell to the ground in tears.
"I was crying like a baby - a big baby," Janowicz said. "I could never expect something like this. For me ... this is still like I cannot believe this, actually. How is this possible? I came here just to play qualifications and suddenly after a few days I'm in the final. I don't know how I did this, but tomorrow final ...