OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Tennis: Surprise by Rosset

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The Independent Online
MARC ROSSET, of Switzerland, ended Croatian hopes of a tennis gold medal yesterday when he beat Goran Ivanisevic 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the men's singles final tomorrow where he will meet the Spaniard, Jordi Arrese.

Rosset, ranked 44th in the world, outclassed the hard-hitting Croatian, the last of the top 10 seeds still in the competition.

Rosset, who had knocked out world No 1 Jim Courier in the third round, made hardly any mistakes while Ivanisevic looked to be feeling the effects of 36 sets over the past nine days.

Ivanisevic got off to a poor start, with Rosset breaking his serve first for 4-2 and then again to take the set as the Croatian struggled with his groundstrokes.

Ivanisevic's baseline game started to come together in the second set, Rosset proving vulnerable. But at 5-5, the Croatian's highly erratic service was broken at the second attempt, when he completely mis-hit Rosset's powerful two-handed return. Ivanisevic put up a fight in the following game, but had no answer to the ace which sealed the set.

Rosset was in complete control in the final set, at one point serving three consecutive aces. He served another to set up a surprisingly comfortable victory. .

Ivanisevic, Rosset's usual Tour doubles partner, made no excuses. 'I couldn't serve. He was hitting aces like there was nobody there waiting for the serve.'

Reaching the singles and doubles semi-finals was some consolation, though, for the fourth seed. 'I am proud to have won a medal for my country, even if it is only a bronze,' Ivanisevic said.

In the other semi-final last night, the home support was strong for Arrese in his match against Andrei Chekasov, of the Unified Team. The Spaniard eventually won 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, but will face a more dynamic challenge from Rosset.

The top seeds, Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain, will meet Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez, of the United States, in tomorrow's final of the women's doubles tournament. The hosts beat Rachel McQuillan and Nicole Provis, of Australia, 6-1, 6-2 yesterday. In their semi-final the Americans beat Natalia Zvereva and Leila Meskhi, of the Unified Team, 6-4, 7-5.

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