posted on Jun, 6 2004 @ 12:16 PM
Gaston Gaudio was crowned French Open champion in bizarre circumstances on Sunday
with a sensational five-set victory over fellow Argentine Guillermo Coria. The unseeded Gaudio won 0-6 3-6 6-4 6-1 8-6, but not before he saved two
match points and saw his opponent virtually walk through the fourth set with some kind of injury problem.
The hot favourite Coria had appeared to be easing to victory when he stormed into a two-set lead, playing Gaudio off the Philippe Chatrier Court. But
after Gaudio gained a foothold in the match by grabbing a tight third set, Coria required treatment and looked set to quit at 1-1 in the fourth.
However, he bravely battled on, going through the motions until the final set began.
Coria dominated early on but played the fourth set at walking pace and served with difficulty in the closing stages. The crowd were stunned into
silence, but Coria was soon fit enough to twice serve for the match in the fifth set. But cramp, or possibly nerves, saw him waste two match points
and Gaudio needed no further invitation and raced through the next two games to claim a hugely unexpected first Grand Slam title.
Gaudio is the first Argentine to triumph at Roland Garros since 1977 when Guillermo Vilas lifted the trophy.