Points won by each set: [ 42-41, 24-10, 35-25, 46-44 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
25 % Bruguera – 34 of 133
28 % Rafter – 38 of 134

It was their third match on Centre Court in Paris within four years, the previous two Bruguera [19] won easily, but at the time he was a “king of clay” while almost two years younger Rafter [25] was trying to obtain important experience on the biggest arenas. In 1997, however, Bruguera had his prime behind while Rafter was improving his tennis month by month. The Australian began the ’97 semifinal serving big, Bruguera needed four return games to adjust himself to those serves. He broke twice at the end of the set, but Rafter broke back immediately (in the 10th game saving a set point). In the tie-break the Spaniard led 3:0*, then had his second set point at 6:5 – Rafter responded with a service winner. In the 3rd set Rafter led 5:2* when he began to play awfully, losing six consecutive games (4-24 in points!). At the beginning of the 4th set they exchanged four breaks just like at the end of the opener. Then at 4:3* (40/15) for Rafter, Bruguera got lucky as his miss-hit forehand turned into a lob which landed on the baseline. The Australian squandered two set points at 6:5 – first the Spaniard played backhand passing-shot, two points later Rafter netted forehand return off Bruguera’s weak second serve and lost 10 out of the last 11 points…. It was the last big win of the two-time French Open champion, even though he was only 26-year-old then; Rafter opened a new, very fruitful period in his career.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply