Somehow, somewhere, Nicolas Massu summoned the strength and the shots to win his second gold of these Olympics.
That's twice as many medals as the entire star-studded U.S. tennis team managed.
Doing everything he could to buy time and beat exhaustion, Chile's Massu got past American Mardy Fish, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, in an error-strewn singles final Sunday night that went four hours.
"He just kept getting better and better," Fish said, "and more untired."
Chile had never won a gold medal in any sport until Massu and Fernando Gonzalez won the doubles title in a match that lasted more than 31/2 hours and ended in the wee hours Sunday morning.
"The best two days of my life," said Massu, who didn't get to sleep until 6:30 a.m., 13 hours before his match against Fish began. "That's it. It's just amazing."
Gonzalez won the singles bronze, beating Taylor Dent of the United States. So the unheralded, unseeded Fish's silver is the only tennis medal for a squad that included Andy Roddick, Venus Williams and Martina Navratilova.
Massu broke to begin the fifth set, and he didn't have to do much work because Fish made four errors. In the next game, Fish flubbed a backhand, reared back and smashed his racket to the court, drawing a warning.
Fish, playing more aggressively, had 105 unforced errors to Massu's 78. There were a total of 12 service breaks and 15 double faults.
Hardly glamorous tennis. Then again, well, it was hardly a glamorous matchup, which perhaps is why the 8,000-seat center court was about half-empty by the last set.
Neither finalist has ever been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament nor been ranked in the top 10.
But No. 1 Roger Federer lost in the second round, and No. 2 Roddick lost in the third. Half of the top 10, including Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt, didn't enter.
It's the first time Massu has won a tournament on hard courts. He was 0-7 this year on the surface before winning six straight singles matches at the Olympics.
Even China, not a tennis power, was a star at these Games, earning the gold in women's doubles when Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian beat Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain, 6-3, 6-3, on Sunday.
Massu's gold was a testament to endurance, playing 24 hours 43 minutes over 11 matches, including doubles. No wonder he showed signs of trouble in the second set against Fish, after having looked so fresh while winning the opening five games.
On the first point of that set's fourth game, Massu appeared to twist his leg chasing a short ball and he paused afterward to stretch his thigh. He stumbled a bit on the next point, too.
For much of the rest of the match, Massu bought time by crouching or stretching -- even sitting on a line judge's chair after one long point. Twice, he raced up for drop shots and, when the point ended, grabbed the net and leaned over, as if looking down into a well.
"Maybe he was playing a little cat-and-mouse in the beginning," the 22nd-ranked Fish said.
Massu moved his extra chair -- usually where players put towels or spare rackets -- and plopped his legs up.
Afterward, a member of the group of fans loudly chanting "Chi-chi-chi, le-le-le, Vi-va Chi-le!" tossed Massu a red, white and blue Chilean flag. He then was lifted into the stands to celebrate with his coach.
He had to be lifted; he was too tired to do it otherwise.