Top-seeded Kuerten wins RCA final

French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten can win on surfaces besides clay.

French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten can win on surfaces besides clay.

The top-seeded Brazilian won his first hardcourt title today, edging third-seeded Marat Safin 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) in the $800,000 RCA Championships in Indianapolis.

The title was the fourth this year for Kuerten, previously known as a claycourt specialist, and tied him with Lleyton Hewitt as the winningest player on the ATP Tour this year. He earned $115,000 with the victory and boosted his ATP Champions Race points total to 622, an 89-point advantage over Magnus Norman.

Kuerten and Safin have met five times, and each match has gone the distance - three times to a fifth set. And for the third straight time, the decisive set has ended with a tiebreak.

Safin leads the series 3-2, but this was Kuerten's second straight win.

Six unforced errors in the second-set tiebreaker led to Safin's downfall. Kuerten had 35 unforced errors - 10 less than Safin - and only managed to capitalize on two of his eight break opportunities.

Utilizing his claycourt skills, Kuerten extended his career-best winning streak to 16 while ending the career-best streak of his opponent at 12. The champion stayed back most of the match, but capitalized when he did come to the net by winning 15 points on 19 approaches.

Kuerten served only 10 aces, but seven came in the deciding set. Down 4-5 in the third set, the Brazilian responded with three consecutive aces en route to winning the 10th game. After each player held to force the tiebreaker, Kuerten moved ahead for good 2-1 with two aces and then took command 4-1 with consecutive winners on Safin's serve.

Safin lost his temper during the first tiebreaker, slamming his racket to the court after doublefaulting to go down 1-2. Then after falling behind 2-5, he smashed the racket again, received a warning for racket abuse and then threw it to the court again.

Safin was broken in the third game of the final set, but pulled even when Kuerten doublefaulted to end the sixth game. Each player then held serve to force the decisive tiebreaker.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project