Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gaudio Triumphs in Epic Final Set

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gaudio Triumphs in Epic Final Set

Article excerpt

Byline: By Isabelle Rondeau

The French Open's historic all-Argentine final went the way of the unseeded Gaston Gaudio after he fought back from two sets down to shock tournament favourite Guillermo Coria in an epic encounter.

After being convincingly brushed aside in the first two sets, Gaudio was forced to save two match points before mounting a stunning recovery to clinch the match 0-6 3-6 6-4 6-1 8-6 after three hours and 31 minutes of play.

He is the first Argentinian to lift the French Open since Guillermo Vilas managed the feat in 1977.

Gaudio took full advantage as Coria struggled badly with what looked like a leg problem.

Coria had come into the tournament with an impressive record of 48 victories in 50 matches on clay and after losing only one set ( against Tim Henman in the semi-final ( on his march to the final was clear favourite to lift the much-coveted trophy on Sunday.

And the 22-year-old came out of the blocks fast in the final, outclassing Gaudio in all areas to take the first two sets with relative ease in just over an hour.

To his credit, Gaudio refused to give in and he managed to keep himself in contention by winning the third set.

That was a blow to Coria and things started to go downhill after that.

He was forced to call in the doctor because of leg cramps while at 1-1 in the fourth set.

Coria received massages on both legs but still looked ill at ease when he finally returned to the court.

A double-fault on his own serve gave Gaudio a 2-1 lead and Coria was little more than a spectator as he opponent served out for a 3-1 advantage.

With Coria clearly in trouble, Gaudio made the most of his opportunity to win the next three games to wrap up the set and level the match at 2-2.

Realising it was win or bust, Coria looked a rejuvenated man in the decisive fifth set and soon established a 3-1 lead.

However, there was still another twist in the tale as Gaudio hit back again to level the match at 4-4. …

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