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September 23, 2000
Norman upset by unknown Frenchman
Third seed Magnus Norman of Sweden joined a long list of fallen favourites at the Olympic tennis tournament when he was beaten 7-6 7-6 Saturday by 21-year-old Fenchman Arnaud di Pasquale.
After taking the first-set tiebreak by 7-4, the 56th-ranked Pasquale battled back from a 5-1 deficit in the second set to take the set into a tiebreaker, which he 7-2 and claim a berth in the quarterfinals.
''This is my biggest victory,'' said Pasquale. ''I'm happy because it's the Olympic Games and I'm playing for my country. I have a motivation here. I really can feel it.''
Norman, who joined top seed Marat Safin of Russia (1) and Australians Lleyton Hewitt (4) and Patrick Rafter (13) among 11 Olympic men's seeds to fall, blamed his bad showing on burnout.
''This could have been one of the highlights of my career and I blew it,'' said the dejected Swede, winner of four tournaments this year and the ATP champions race leader for much of the season.
''I'm not there mentally. I've played too many matches and too many weeks.''
Norman, 24, gave evidence of his confused mental state when he froze on a shot in the second-set tiebreaker that brushed the baseline right along his forehand side and never tried to get it.
''My body needs recovery. I will take some time off,'' said Norman, who said he might skip the Vienna tournament next month. ''I put 120 percent into this tournament because I want to play for my country. I really love Sweden. And I failed.''
Pasquale was full of life and took charge against Norman, belting 18 winners. ''I was ready to play the third set,'' the Frenchman said, referring to how far he was behind the Swede in the second. ''I just kept fighting.''
French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil slugged his way past Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to reach the quarters, finishing the third-round match with three aces in the last game, including one on the final point.
''After I got the first set I really didn't give any chance to him,'' said Kuerten. ''So I thought I played my best set of the tournament in the last set and the way I finished was pretty.''
Also reaching the quarter-finals was eighth-seeded spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, who was nearly flawless in beating Canada's Daniel Nestor by 7-6 6-3.
Ferrero next plays Pasquale.
On the women's side, Australia's Jelena Dokic overcame a set point in the first set and a 5-1 deficit in the second set to defeat Rossana de Los Rios of Paraguay 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 and claim a berth in the quarters.
Rios, who advanced to the third round after top-seeded 1996 Olympic champion Lindsay Davenport forfeited their second-round match because of injury, had set point against Dokic in the 10th game of the opening set but failed to convert.
The determined Paraguayan scored the first three points of the tiebreaker and led 4-2 before the Wimbledon semifinalist roared back to run off five of the next six points and win the set.
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