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Old 10-12-2002, 12:57 AM   #30
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06/02/1997
ALLEZ, GUGA!

Four more games for Guga to tie it with Thomas Koch (in 1968) and reach the quarterfinals of Roland Garros. Four games that are expected to be dramatic, and that because if they are won by the ukranian Andrei Medvedev, he as well could be there – leaving the brazilian behind. Guga will serve first, what is not certain win, since just in the fifth set we had a break a piece. It´s gonna be nervous!

Worse: if we have a tie in 6-6, there´s no tiebreak. They play on, untill one of the two get a two game gap. Summarizing: it can be fast as a blink of an eye, or long and hard as a marathon. Let´s get the hearts prepared.


For what he´s been playing in this tournament, Guga deserves a spot among the eight best in Roland Garros. During the match suspended yesterday (in a tied 2 sets a piece, 2 games a piece situation), he was yet again surprising one of the best tennis player in the world – this time the ukranian Andrei Medvedev, placed as world number 20 in the rankings, but who is a former number 4 and has over US$ 4 million in prize money for his carreer.
Many times during the match, Medvedev looked lost facing the powerful forehands and backhands from Guga – always from the baseline. In three ocasions he threw his racquet to the clay, irritated for being kicked by another winner.
Just as what happened to Muster, the ukranian could breath again as he could lead the match to the fifth set and as he could break the brazilian in the first game of the last set. Illusion: Guga gave the break back, and the match is tied once again, on 2-2.
It´s possible that Medvedev ousts Guga. But, certainly, he won´t ever forget this day, in which he suffered for 2 hours and 16 minutes facing a brazilian boy about whom he had never heard before untill he knew he´d just beaten Thomas Muster in the previews round.
- Where did you take this kid from? What the hell was he doing untill last year?
In all the languages, the question is always the same. Journalists from all around the globe, tennis specialists or not, show their enchantment with Gustavo Kuerten:
- What a player! Medvedev is crazy. He doesn´t know what to do – a russian was saying, after the first three sets.
The requests for interviews are repeated. As the time of the players is limited, the way to solve it is running after the brazilian coleagues, who, before anything else, have to teach them how to write Guga – very strange to them:
- Cu-ca? Cu-co? Cu-ga?
Whatever it sounds like, the word Guga is being repeated everywhere. Henri Leconte, former tennis players, is one of them. He had many good words to say:
- This brazilian kid plays to good. He has it all to reach the finals.
Amen, Henri...


As soon as the match was suspended, Larri Passos locked the locker room, and half an hour later got out asking the reporters to not interview Guga yesterday:
- Please, we are having a special work in mentalizing the best shots. Guga is doing very well in the match, and I would appreciate if you could not talk to him so his focus does not get lost. The match is very tight and both players are doing similar things – and playing very well. They are both attacking in the second serves, and hitting hard and with angles from the baseline. The more focused of them will win when they come back tomorrow. That´s why I´m asking you to not interrupt Guga´s concentration.
His request was respected.


The bad news of the day came from Marc Rosset. Facing the swed Magnus Norman – who took Pete Sampras out – he had a terrible mistake, and threw his racquet to the sky with all his power.
It came back into the crowd, almost hitting a kid and a lady. Completely embarassed, Rosset got down on his knees and, hands to the sky, asked for forgiveness. The crowd accepted his request. Magnus, though, didn´t forgive him and defeated him in four sets.
Another one to go home was the north-american Lindsay Davenport. She was leading the croatian Iva Majoli 7/5 4/1 and 40-15 on her own serve, and lost it. Majoli won 5/7 6/4 and 6/2.


Martina Hingis won again, but played shaky again. She even lost the second set 6/0. In the fifth, though, she gave the bagel back to win it. She will have to play a lot more to get to the finals. Arantxa and Seles are on her way still.


Aussie Mark Philippoussis was demolished by the russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov, but left the Center Court with the tournament´s fastest speed serve. He hit a “Scud” at 221 kmph! The second in speed is Kafelnikov himself, 213 kmph. Sampras comes next, 211, and then Marc Rosset, 208. Goran Ivanisevic is the fifth, with 206 kmph.


Do you know who is Roland Garros´ biggest winner ever?
You are wrong if you said Bjorn Borg. The ice swede won 6 singles championships (74, 75, 79, 80 and 81), but the north-american Chris Evert won the women´s singles 7 times (74, 75, 79, 80, 83, 85 and 86). Next, tied with 5, two other women: Margareth Court (62, 64, 69, 70 and 73) and Steffi Graf (87, 88, 93, 95 and 96).


The brazilian Alexandre Simoni started with a win in the Boy´s singles draw. He defeated the russian Marat Safin, 7/6 7/5. Today Carla Tiene goes to the court. She is the only brazilian in the girl´s tournament.
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TWENTY!
'97 ROLAND GARROS, '98 Stuttgart, '98 Mallorca, '99 MONTE CARLO, '99 ROMA, '00 Santiago, '00 HAMBURG, '00 ROLAND GARROS, '00 Indianapolis, '00 MASTERS CUP LISBOA, '01 Buenos Aires, '01 Acapulco, '01 MONTE CARLO, '01 ROLAND GARROS, '01 Stuttgart, '01 CINCINNATI, '02 Costa do Sauipe, '03 Auckland, '03 St. Petersburg, '04 Costa do Sauipe.
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