Bad weather had forced the match, originally scheduled for Sunday, to be pushed back to Monday. Rain then interrupted the proceedings after 46 minutes with Bruguera leading 6-5 in the first set, and the rest of the contest, reduced to three sets from five, had to be played on a covered court.
Bruguera, who won the tournament two years ago against Boris Becker in a match which also had to be completed on Monday, led 5-0 in the first set, but Pioline, the first French player to reach the final since Yannick Noah in 1986, fought back to level at 5-5, saving five set points in the process.
After a break of two hours, play resumed on the second court with Pioline, despite saving one more set point at 5-6, losing the tie-break 7-2 before succumbing in the second set.
'I don't think I played very well,' Pioline said. 'The switch of court and only 200 spectators, there just wasn't any atmosphere, and having to restart the game did not help me.
Pioline, trying to become the first Frenchman to win the event since Pierre Darmon in 1963, was playing in only his second final, having lost to Pete Sampras, the world No 1, in Lyons last October.Reuse content