The 2-hour 18-minute final of two best players at the end of 2000, but when they met in Indianapolis, Kuerten was No. 2 while Safin five places below. The Russian saved a break point at 1:3 in the 3rd set & was three points away from the title at 6:5* (15/0) when decided to play a dropshopt from a position he was usually delivering big – often winning – forehands. It was their second final in 2000: on the previous occasion Kuerten triumphed in Hamburg 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 being two points away from defeat. Both tie-breaks in Indianapolis were concluded 7/2, but had different outlook: in the first one Safin committed six errors, in the second Kuerten hit five winners. “We play kind of the same game, we like to play hard, big serve, we don’t have too much breaks, so the sets are always tight,” the Brazilian added. “He knows how to play me and I know how to play him too. So the match gets into sort of a situation that who makes one or two more mistakes more than the other can lose the match.”
Kuerten’s route to his first hardcourt title (in 41st appearance on that surface):
2 Todd Woodbridge 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
3 Taylor Dent 6-2, 7-6(4)
Q Wayne Ferreira 6-2, 6-3
S Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 6-2
W Marat Safin 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(2)
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