Zimbabwe's Black Wins Marlboro
Oct. 19, 1997
HONG KONG (AP) _ Zimbabwe's Byron Black upset French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) Sunday to win the U.S. $725,000 Marlboro Tennis Championships.
The 28-year-old Black, who beat World No. 8 Marcelo Rios of Chile and German Boris Becker on his way to the final, collected the biggest paycheck of his career after winning the first prize of U.S. $220,000.
Black has a good record in Hong Kong, beating World No. 1 Peter Sampras while reaching the semifinals in last year's event.
``I love Hong Kong. I might move here,'' said Black after his victory. ``I had to plead with (tournament director) Brian Catton to accept me into the tournament this year and I hope next time I get an invitation.''
Black returned to the Victoria Park hardcourt after a rest following his three-hour match against Kuerten to play in the doubles final.
The Swedish pair of Thomas Johansson and Mikael Tillstrom beat Black and American Jonathan Stark 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-8) to take the doubles title.
Black, ranked 60th in the world, was dominant from the baseline against the 11th-ranked Kuerten, capitalizing on numerous errors by the Brazilian to win the first set.
Kuerten squandered a break advantage in the second set before winning it in the tie-breaker, but had his service broken twice in the third set, which Black won 6-2.
The Brazilian recovered from one break down in the fourth set to level the match, and then again had to fight back from 0-3 down in the fifth to force it into a tie-break.
Black's fitness proved decisive in the tie-break as Kureten, fighting the first match point, hit a service return into the net.
``Byron has been playing great tennis all week and in the end, he was the better player and deserved to win,'' said Kuerten, who picked up $100,000.