Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sure Could Have Fooled Me! 2001 French Open

All four losing men in the last eight of Roland Garros won at least two Grand Slams.


In 2001, you had Gustavo Kuerten on his way to victory over Alex Corretja of Spain. The man from Brazil ended up with his third (And final) French Open with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 win.

But getting was where the fun was.

The last eight also consisted of an American, a Russian, a Frenchman, an Australian, and another Spaniard. And some young Swiss.

Kuerten beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov for the third time at this stage of the French Open. The Russian went down 6-1, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. Kafelnikov had the title at Roland Garros under his belt in 1996, and went on to add the 1999 Australian Open to his name. You also had the Spaniard, Juan Carlos Ferrero (Who'd be a finalist here the next two years, winning in 2003.) in the last eight, and there beating the young Lleyton Hewitt. This was as far as Lleyton would ever get, although he matched this in 2004. Hewitt had  no Grand Slams to his name at this point, but would go on to capture the US Open that year and Wimbledon in 2002 for good measure. Those two Grand Slams were a good start to his career. But one of the other quarterfinalist would prevent him from more in the coming years.

Ferrero then lost to Kuerten in the semifinals for the second straight year. Much to the delight of the crowd, it was Frances' Sebastian Grosjean subduing the 1999 winner, Andre Agassi, 1-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. Agassi had some pretty good results here as far back as 1989. Ran into Grosjean, who prevented the 31-year old from going any further. But Corretja then denied Grosjean a spot in the finals with a straight set win.

Finally, and as it turns out, most dramatically, Corretja was able to advance to the semis for that meeting with the home player. But the man he beat was a still a teenager and playing in his very first Grand Slam quarterfinals. A few weeks later, this young man would upend Pete Sampras in the round of 16 to advance to another Grand Slam quareterfinals.

He was just getting started. That lad, Roger Federer. Lost in the quarters of Wimbledon, too. He had to wait another 2 years before he got going. But once he did, everyone in the tennis world took notice.


References


Collins, Bud. The Bud Collins History Of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia And Record Book. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: New Chapter, 2010. Print.

Infosys, FedEx, Peugeot, and LeSports. "Official Site of Men's Professional Tennis | ATP World Tour | Tennis." ATP World Tour. Emirates. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.  <http://www.atpworldtour.com/>

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