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  Friday, 6 July, 2001, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Rafter charges into final
Pat Rafter beat Andre Agassi at the semi-final stage last year
Rafter outlasted Agassi for the second straight year
Pat Rafter (Aus) beat Andre Agassi (US)
2-6 6-3 2-6 6-3 8-6

Australian Pat Rafter reached his second successive Wimbledon final with an epic five-set win over Andre Agassi.

It was a repeat of his thrilling semi-final defeat of Agassi in 2000 - another monumental match that went the full five sets.

Rafter was behind in the final set, but launched a dramatic fightback to claim victory.

Afterwards, he said paid tribute to Agassi and said he felt "lucky" to go through.


He played better at the most important moments - he deserves to be in the final
Andre Agassi
"Andre had opportunities to put me away. He was definitely the better player throughout the fifth set," said Rafter.

Agassi, the 1992 champion, was clearly upset by defeat, particularly as he served for the match at 5-4 in the deciding set.

"I am disappointed, I let an opportunity go by," he said.

"It is for others to judge the quality of that match. Right now I am kicking myself."

But the American admitted that his opponent had played a large part in his downfall.

"At the end of the day he played better at the most important moments," he said.

"He deserves to be in the final, that's for sure."

Andre Agassi was on the wrong end of a few close line calls
Agassi was on the wrong end of a few close calls
Agassi, 31, had started brilliantly and clinched the first set 6-2 in just 24 minutes.

Third seed Rafter needed to rally quickly, and did so to take the second 6-3.

But the second seed responded with some accurate serving and sweet groundstrokes to claim the third set 6-3.

Rafter, beaten by Pete Sampras in the 2000 final and yet to win Wimbledon, hit back to win the fourth 6-2.

His opponent was clearly upset by two deep Rafter shots being called in, and even asked for the line judge to be removed.

Agassi regrouped and broke Rafter's serve in the first game of the final set.

He then had numerous chances to clinch an all-important second break, but Rafter showed great resolve to stay in the match.


I was very, very fortunate to go through
Pat Rafter

The 28-year-old Australian was then rewarded for his determined display by breaking back as Agassi served for the match to set up a thrilling climax.

With tension mounting, the American was warned for swearing, but Rafter kept his cool to claim a famous victory with his third of three match points.

After the match, a delighted Rafter said: "Andre had a couple of opportunities to really put me away early in fifth and he didn't.

"Nothing really went his way today even the line judge giving him the code violation.

"Probably a couple of line calls didn't go his way either. I just feel sort of bad for him, but I have to enjoy the moment as well."

Rafter will meet Britain's Tim Henman or Goran Ivanisevic from Croatia, in Sunday's final.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Pat Rafter
"It still hasn't sunk in yet"
Andre Agassi
"The good news is I didn't lose it, he won it"
Wimbledon site

Men's singles final

Ladies' singles final

Henman's defeat

Other finals

Scores and seeds

SOL at Wimbledon

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Links to more Wimbledon 2001 stories are at the foot of the page.


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