Justin Gatlin produced a savage dip at the line to win the 100m at Friday's season-ending Diamond League meet in Brussels, but withdrew from the 200m with a thigh strain to scotch any idea of a rare double.
In the absence of Usain Bolt, who pushed Gatlin into second place in both the 100 and 200m at last month's world championships in Beijing but withdrew from Brussels to rest after his injury-hit season, the American timed 9.98 seconds for a laboured victory.
Nigerian-born Qatari Femi Ogunode finished second and was given the same time as Gatlin, and Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut claimed third in 9.99sec ahead of American Mike Rodgers (10.02) and Jamaica's Asafa Powell (10.04).
Gatlin, who has served two doping bans and whose clash with Bolt in Beijing was built up by some as a symbolic victory of a clean sprinter over a drugs offender, seemed to tie up in the latter stage of the race.
But the 33-year-old, who rebounded from a first doping ban to claim 100m gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the sprint double at the 2005 worlds in Helsinki before then serving a second ban between 2006-10, showed all his experience to produce a decisive dip at the line.
"I played it safe," said Gatlin. "With 75 metres to go I felt a twinge in my thigh, a small strain.
"Once I felt it, subconsciously I erred on the side of caution and just made sure I dipped for the line."
There was a nervy start after Nesta Carter false-started, the Jamaican who has been part of two Olympic and three world 4x100m relay-winning teams adjudged to have rocked slightly off his blocks.
Carter's compatriot Bolt opted not to race in the 200m at Brussels, expressing his desire to rest up before turning his attention to preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics where he will bid to defend his "double-treble" gold haul in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay.
That cleared the way for a tilt at both sprints here for Gatlin, who also doubled up in the Belgian capital last year, but the American was a late withdrawal from the 200m.
"My coach said 'just don't risk it. You're going in the 200m you're running on the curve so just shut it down'. He doesn't want me worrying about an injury in the off-season," Gatlin said.
In his absence, Ogunode improved on his second place in the 100m to claim victory in the longer sprint at the Stade King Baudouin II in an Asian record of 19.97sec ahead of Antigua's Miguel Francis (20.22) and Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer (20.27).
South African Wayde van Niekerk, who claimed a sensational 400m gold at the Beijing worlds in 43.48sec and who notched up a 200m best of 19.87sec in his first ever race against Bolt, could only finish fourth in 20.37.