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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kafelnikov Downed in Halle Open Final

HALLE, Germany -- Sweden's Nicklas Kulti dampened Yevgeny Kafelnikov's Wimbledon hopes by beating the French Open champion in three sets to win the $875,000 grass-court tennis tournament in Halle.


Kulti, the 1989 Wimbledon and Australian Open junior champion who had come through the qualifying tournament in Halle, produced solid serve-and-volley tennis on Sunday and pounced on the Russian's lapses to run out a 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 winner.


But Kafelnikov, playing with a bandaged left knee to protect a slight muscle strain, did enough during the week to show that he had the volleying skills to launch a credible challenge on Wimbledon's fast grass.


The Russian, essentially a baseliner most at home on clay, will bid to become the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to record back-to-back wins in the French Open, which is played on slow clay, and Wimbledon. His blistering two-handed returns are likely to trouble serve-and-volley specialists.