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BBC Five Live's Iain Carter
reports
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Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK
Kafelnikov clinches gold
Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Kafelnikov: Won gold after five-set thriller
Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov clinched gold in the Olympics men's tennis final, defeating German Tommy Haas in a five-set thriller.

Unseeded Haas, who considered skipping the Sydney Games because of poor form and injuries, played his part in an enthralling encounter but eventually lost 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-2 4-6 6-3.

Kafelnikov, who was favourite in the last-four stage as the only seed left in the tournament, got crucial breaks on Haas' serve in the final set and denied the 22-year-old the chance to become the first German to win an Olympic men's singles title.

Haas, 22, went into the final set looking the more likely winner but just as victory looked within his grasp he stumbled.

Two unforced errors in the eighth game of the final set handing Kafelnikov the chance to serve out for the match.

No mistake

The big Russian, who had failed to reproduce the blistering form he displayed en route to the final, made no mistake, powerfully killing off the match to secure an Olympic gold medal.

Kafelnikov's win completes a fantastic month for Russian tennis after Marat Safin's triumph in the US Open.

It also marks a remarkable renaissance for Kafelnikov who had arrived in Sydney in total despair about his form after failing to win a singles title all year - a remarkable statistic for a player who plays more tournaments than almost any other top player and has won at least three titles every year since 1994.

Kafelnikov had always been the favourite for gold after he eliminated Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten with his best display of the tournament at the quarter-final stage.

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See also:

25 Sep 00 |  Racquet Sports
Kafelnikov favourite for tennis gold
24 Sep 00 |  Racquet Sports
Haas sends another seed crashing
27 Sep 00 |  Racquet Sports
Williams storms to Olympic gold
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