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  Monday, 3 September, 2001, 04:35 GMT 05:35 UK
Kuerten comes through thriller
Gustavo Kuerten
Gustavo Kuerten was pushed to the limit
Gustavo Kuerten kept his US Open hopes alive in the most dramatic fashion with a five-set victory over Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

The Brazilian top seed was two points from defeat at one stage after seeing Mirnyi sweep through the opening two sets with some awesome serving.


He has won many matches of this type, he's on top of his game
Max Mirnyi
But the relentless flow of winners from Kuerten eventually took its toll and he came back to win 6-7 5-7 7-6 7-6 6-2 and secure a quarter-final clash with Spain's Albert Costa.

"Things were difficult for me. I had to pull out everything I had," said Kuerten.

"I just gave everything I learned all these years in the match to win. At the end it was a great payback to have this tremendous feeling,"

Both players played at the highest level to a produce a contest that brought the tournament to life.

The late-night crowd was enthralled as Kuerten fired winners from everywhere as he tried desperately to break serve.

But Mirnyi maintained an incredible service percentage of over 70% that left the Brazilian an almost impossible task.

Max Mirnyi
Mirnyi came close to a famous win
Kuerten was also on good form on serve and the first set went to a tie-break that Mirnyi took 7-5.

In an equally tight second set, Mirnyi saved a set point before breaking Kuerten in the 11th game and serving out for a two-set lead.

The world number one became increasingly irritated at what he considered to be some dubious line calls but the quality of play did not drop from either player.

Kuerten finally made some headway on the Mirnyi serve but he could not convert any of the six break points he earned before the third set went to a tie-break.

Mirnyi was within sight of victory but Kuerten made a strong start and held on to take it 7-4.

At 6-5 ahead and 30-30 in the fourth set, Mirnyi was just two points from the biggest victory of his career.

But Kuerten held his nerve and race through another tie-break 7-4 to take the match into a final set.

Kuerten is congratulated by his mother
Kuerten is congratulated by his mother
By now the crowd was on its feet as the American public finally took to 'Guga', and he responded with more blistering passes to close out the match with two breaks of serve.

"There's a reason he's number one," said Mirnyi. "He has won many matches of this type, he's on top of his game.

"If he wasn't doing this, he wouldnt be number one. I wasn't surprised for him to keep fighting."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Barry Millns - BBC Five Live
"Guga never gives up - a terriffic match"
Gustavo Kuerten
"I gave everything - a great win"
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