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  Monday, 9 July, 2001, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Ivanisevic snatches Wimbledon thriller
Goran Ivanisevic breaks down after securing victory
Ivanisevic broke down after securing victory
Men's singles final, Wimbledon: Goran Ivanisevic (Cro) beat Pat Rafter (Aus) 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7

Goran Ivanisevic took his first Wimbledon title at the fourth attempt with a titanic five-set win over Pat Rafter on Centre Court.

After almost exactly three hours, Rafter netted a forehand return to end one of the great Grand Slam finals.

In front of the most raucous crowd a Wimbledon final has ever seen, the players delivered a wonderful see-saw battle.

Inspired winners mixed with nerve-shredded errors to a backdrop of football-style chants and cheers on every point.

Someone has to lose and I'm the loser once again
Pat Rafter
In a stomach-churning final set the match went one way then the other, each player greeting a game won like the championship itself until the tumultuous finale.

The Croatian missed three match points in the 16th game of the last set before digging deep to become the first wild-card in the history of the tournament to win the title.

"I don't know if someone is going to wake me up and tell me I haven't won again," said an emotional Ivanisevic afterwards.

"This was my dream all my life. I came here and nobody thought about me, but here I am holding the trophy."

Pat Rafter hits a back-hand volley
Rafter came so close to a first title
Rafter was gracious in defeat despite his second Wimbledon final defeat in two years.

"It was one of those matches which could have gone either way," he said.

"Someone has to lose and I'm the loser once again."

Ivanisevic had accelerated into the opening set, holding his serve with ease and then breaking a nervy Rafter at the first attempt.

The cacophonous reception provided by the partisan Australian crowd seemed to unsettle him, the pressure plus his own adrenaline forcing him to overhit his groundstrokes.

Ivanisevic, by contrast, looked focused and duly took the set with ease.

Rafter needed an immediate response and he provided it by breaking the Croatian in the second game of the second set.

Then it was his opponent's turn to tighten up.

Ivanisevic's usually lethal serve began to splutter, his first-serve percentage slipping to 50% - and the match was level with exactly an hour gone.

Ivanisevic called for the doctor, grimacing as his troublesome left shoulder stiffened up.

It was a misleading omen. After five games had gone with serve in the third, Ivanisevic broke Rafter brilliantly with two wonderful returns.

He held on for a two sets to one lead and looked set fair for the title that has eluded him three times in the 1990s - but comeback kid Rafter had other ideas.

Goran Ivanisevic kicks the net in frustration
Ivanisevic lost his cool in the fourth set
In the ninth game of the fourth, games going with serve, the Australian worked a break point.

Ivanisevic fired in an ace, only to be called for a foot-fault. Glowering, he hit what he thought was another on his second serve, only to hear it called out.

With that the volcano erupted. Dashing his racquet to the ground, he stormed to the net, gave it a kick and swore at the umpire.

Rafter duly took the set to level the match and the balance of power seemed to have shifted.

But Ivanisevic, who many thought would struggle to last three intense sets, let alone five, stayed strong.

He had been called a one-shot wonder before this final, but it was the accuracy and pace of his returns and the crispness of his volleys at the net that won him big points as much as the firecracker serve.

BBC Sport's Nick Mullins
"A memorable end to one of the most memorable Wimbledon's of all time"
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic
"This was my dream all my life"
Wimbledon runner-up Pat Rafter
"This atmosphere is what we play tennis for"
Wimbledon site

Men's singles final

Ladies' singles final

Henman's defeat

Other finals

Scores and seeds

SOL at Wimbledon

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