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  Friday, 26 January, 2001, 10:22 GMT
Clement fightback thwarts Grosjean
Arnaud Clement beats Sebastien Clement in the Australian Open
An amazing turnaround for Arnaud Clement
A Clement beats S Grosjean 5-7 2-6 7-6(7/4) 7-5 6-2

Arnaud Clement provided the fightback of the tournament in a five-set thriller against fellow Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Clement, the 15th seed, saved two nail-biting match points in the third set before mounting a revival to earn a showdown with defending champion Andre Agassi.

His friend and doubles partner Grosjean had been in blistering form earlier on, taking the first two sets and looking certain of a place in the final.

But the sleek Clement rallied back to grab the next two sets in tight finishes, before winning the final one in convincing fashion.

When the longest match of the tournament so far finished after four hours and eight minutes the pair shook hands at the net and spoke for a moment.


The more the match progressed the better I felt
Arnaud Clement
According to Clement, Grosjean only had words of encouragement for his final clash against Agassi.

"He said go ahead and do your best and go to the end," said Clement.

The 23-year-old, who described his victory over Grosjean as "a small miracle", found playing his friend and doubles partner a "bit weird".

However, Clement was delighted to come from behind to go through to his first major final.

"The more the match progressed the better I felt," Clement said.

"Even though it was four hours I wasn't too worried about it," added the 15th seed, who called for the trainer to have his leg strapped after going two sets down.

"I wasn't really hurt, but I had a little apprehension because there was no strength in my leg.

"After it was strapped I was conscious I could give 100% all the time," he added.

Tough slip

Clement had a shaky start, letting Grosjean break his serve early to fall behind in the first set.

The sparky Frenchman was clearly not moving well around the court and was forced to seek medical attention at one point.

Grosjean, staying consistent, took advantage of Clement's poor form to take the second set.

By midway through the third set, it looked as though the 16th seed had it all wrapped up, leading 5-4 and serving for the match.

But Clement, showing nerves of steel, broke the 22-year-old's serve to take the set to a tie-breaker, which he won 7-4.

Sebastien Grosjean
Grosjean falters to let victory slip away
Psychologically-boosted, Clement started to raise his standards, though Grosjean doggedly hung on.

It took until the end of the fourth set for the 23-year-old to break Grosjean's serve and win three successive games to move the match into a fifth and final set.

By this time, Grosjean, who had let the perfect opportunity for victory slip through his fingers, was showing signs of cracking.

The players provided a series of scintillating rallies, both producing some unbelievable shots, but Clement moved comfortably ahead.

Grosjean, looking tired, seemed to have no answers for a revitalised Clement.

Grosjean let out a last gasp of fight to gain three break points in the eighth game, but it was Clement who converted his chances by gaining victory on his fifth match point for a remarkable turnaround.

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26 Jan 01 | Australian Open
26 Jan 01 | Australian Open
25 Jan 01 | Australian Open
24 Jan 01 | Australian Open
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26 Jan 01 | Australian Open
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