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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Federer beats Agassi

INDIAN WELLS (USA), MARCH 21. Top-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland outlasted Andre Agassi of the United States 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open on Saturday.

Federer, 22, and Agassi, 33, played mostly from the baseline in the 38-degree C (100-degree F) heat, with the Swiss star's quickness finally turning the match his way.

Tied 4-4 in the third set and down 40-15 with Agassi serving, Federer raced to his left to return a deep shot, whirled all the way around and dashed far to his right to hit a forehand, then ended the point by rushing forward to power another forehand past the drawn-in Agassi.

Federer won the next three points to go up a break, then served out for his 26th victory in 27 matches, including a 21-1 start to 2004. He jogged to the net to shake Agassi's hand and put his arm around him.

The fans, most of whom rooted for Agassi during the match, gave Federer a huge cheer as he beamed and raised both arms. Agassi left the court to cheers as well, waving as he walked off.

Federer's 26-1 streak began last November when he beat Agassi twice — in the round robin and the final — at the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston.

The semifinal at Indian Wells pitted a player who has won eight Grand Slams against a player who has won two — but two of the last three, Wimbledon in 2003 and the Australian Open this year.

Agassi said heading into the match that Federer was so good because he could adapt his game to his opponent. He did that against Agassi, sticking mostly to the baseline and being patient, although he did come to the net 19 times and won 14 points.

Federer's first serve was a weapon, as he won 41 of 50. Agassi was 16 of 26. Agassi beat Federer the first three times they played, beginning in 1998. But Federer evened it 3-3 by taking the last three meetings.

The results:

Men (semifinals): Roger Federer bt Andre Agassi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Tim Henman bt Irakli Labadze 6-3, 6-2.

AP

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