rg98rios_costa

rg98rios_costa

Stats of the last three sets (73 %), number of aces, double faults & break points correct for the entire contest.
Total points: 101-79 […, 35-30, 31-21, 35-28]
Points won directly on serve:
19 % Rios – 18 of 92
14 % Costa – 13 of 88

It’s been 18 years so I don’t remember exactly, but I think I treated that match as a premature final. Rios was the best in the world in the first half of 1998 (titles at Indian Wells, Key Biscayne, Rome and the Aussie Open final) while Costa – having played three five-setters against Muster (2-1 for Muster) when the Austrian seemed unbeatable on clay – seemed to be among favorites to win the French Open in years 1996-98… he fullfield expectations in 2002 when not too many people counted on him.
Rainy-chilly day (17 degrees), and the animated Costa [13], who had to withdraw from the Italian Open final a few weeks before, led 6-4 4:2* (deuce) when Rios [3] turned the tables despite some problems with his right thigh. In the 4th set there were 6 breaks of serve in 9 games, Costa lost his serve four times in a row and the match after 2 hours 38 minutes.

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