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Agassi's farewell U.S. Open goes on
Latest Updated by 2006-08-30 16:43:06
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Andre Agassi of the United States celebrates victory over Andrei Pavel of Romania during Men's Singles first round match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Aug. 28, 2006. (Xinhua Photo)

Andre Agassi of the United States celebrates victory over Andrei Pavel of Romania during Men's Singles first round match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Aug. 28, 2006. (Xinhua Photo)

Andre Agassi staged a great escape on Monday to beat Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2 in the first round of the U.S. Open, staying alive in the tournament after which he said he will retire.

Eight-times grand slam winner Agassi rallied to win the second-set tiebreak 10-8, but quickly fell behind 4-0 in the third set to 75th-ranked Pavel, who had lost five of six previous matches against the American.

Yet Pavel, who had troubled Agassi with a backhand that powered drives down the lines and floated delicate drop shots, suddenly looked spent and the American seized his chance to the roars of a record night crowd of 23,736.

Agassi ran off five games in forcing another tiebreak, which it took four set points for him to win. He squandered two with errors, and Pavel saved one on a backhand cross-court return of a second serve. But Agassi confused Pavel with his return of serve to win the set.

"I thought I had him," said Pavel. "I started having stomach cramps. I couldn't concentrate that much, like before."

And though the fourth set was a mere formality, it brought Agassi officially into the second round, into his matchup with eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis.

"You guys have pulled me through so much in my life," Agassi told the crowd after the three-hour, 31-minute match. "I really want to leave my best stuff on the court. I feel the pressure and the excitement of trying to bring the best out in myself.

"To come out there and get through a difficult one ... I'm very proud of this day and I'm glad it gets to happen again."

Agassi announced at Wimbledon he would retire after the U.S. Open. He won the Open in 1994 and 1999, and was the runner-up four times, including last year.

Editor: Donald

By: Source: China View website
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