Tennis: Kuerten Makes History on Clay; French Open Tennis Championships

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), June 11, 2001 | Go to article overview

Tennis: Kuerten Makes History on Clay; French Open Tennis Championships


Byline: FRANK MALLEY

GUSTAVO Kuerten was crowned tennis' clay-court king yesterday when he claimed his third French Open title at Roland Garros.

The charismatic Brazilian defeated Spain's Alex Corretja 6-7 7-5 6-2 6-0 to take his place among the greats of the game.

He moved alongside Ivan Lendl, who also won three French Open titles, and ahead of the likes of legends Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, who managed two each.

But it was agony for Corretja, who also lost in the 1998 final in Paris to big pal Carlos Moya.

It was a typically long and arduous clay-court final played in gusting conditions.

The first set alone lasted one hour and 13 minutes of attritional tennis - Kuerten crashing away with his powerful groundstrokes and Corretja standing firm as a brick wall.

They swapped service breaks on two occasions as everything the Brazilian conjured up came back in conditions which varied from sunshine to light showers to sweeping dust squalls.

Inevitably, the set went to a tie-break but it seemed it was Kuerten most affected by the wind. Indeed Corretja earned his set point when a sudden gust held up the ball and blew dust into Kuerten's eyes.

The Brazilian then double-faulted to hand Corretja the set.

The second set, after the pair had again swapped service breaks, was equally tight, this time two net cords in the 11th game helping Kuerten save a crucial service and he again upped the pace in the next game to take the set and level the match. …

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