Switzerland's Roger Federer has missed out on the bronze medal in the men's singles tournament, after losing to the Geneva-based Frenchman Arnaud di Pasquale in a fiercely fought encounter.This content was published on September 27, 2000 - 07:45
Federer and Pasquale met on Wednesday in a playoff for the bronze after both had lost their semi-final matches.
It was the first time that the two players had faced each other and it soon became apparent that neither would enjoy an easy victory.
The first two sets were decided on tiebreaks. The Frenchman took the first 7-5, and earned his first match ball in the second when he led Federer 7-6.
But the Basel teenager held on, defending the match ball before winning the second tiebreak 9-7.
As the match went to a deciding third set, Federer appeared to be on the up. In the third game of the set he broke di Pasquale's serve to lead 2-1. Now though it was the Frenchman's turn to fight back, breaking Federer in the very next game to level the set.
As the match wore into its third hour the 21-year-old called for assistance from his physiotherapist, but it was Federer who seemed to suffer more for the interruption.
The Swiss player was broken once more, moving the score to 5-3 in di Pasquale's favour. The Frenchman held his serve to take the match and the bronze after two hours and 23 minutes of exhilarating tennis.
Ending his Sydney campaign with an Olympic diploma after missing two chances for medals, Federer remained upbeat.
"Even if I have lost my two last matches and the medal opportunities, I don't regret coming," he said afterwards. "It was an extraordinary experience."
The Swiss youngster must now return to the regular slog of the ATP tour, with six indoor tournaments still ahead of him this autumn. Looking beyond the Olympic disappointment Federer's coach Peter Lundgren said that the two men had set a target of a place in the world's top 20 at the end of the 2001 season.
swissinfo with agencies
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