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The BBC's Ian Carter in Hamburg
"A truly courageous victory for Gustavo Kuerten"
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Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Kuerten crowned in Hamburg
Gustavo Kuerten
Gustavo Kuerten: Full house of clay-court titles
Gusatvo Kuerten fired a resounding warning to his French Open rivals with an epic victory in the final of the German Open.

The Brazilian clay-court specialist produced the perfect warm-up for Roland Garros with a battling five-set success over Marat Safin in Hamburg.


Marat Safin
Safin was unable to complete the job
Kuerten, who won the French Open as a virtually unknown teenager in 1997, triumphed 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3) in a marathon match that lasted nine minutes short of four hours.

The victory means Kuerten has now won every major clay-court title on the ATP Tour.

He did not have everything his own way, however, and Safin pushed him right to the wire.

Guga gets home

Kuerten held the lead in both the second and fourth sets, but his Russain opponent fought back on both occasions to delay his celebrations.

The Brazilian - known to his fans as "Guga" - struggled to find his most fluent form, making more and more errors as the match wore on.

But he kept a cool head in the vital moments in the tiebreaker and fired an ace on his first match point.

"He made it really hard for me," Kuerten said after taking his second title of the year.

The German tournament is a major warm-up for the French Open, which starts in one week and which Kuerten won in 1997.

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