Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Feeling the `Peace and Spirit' of Roland Garros, Agassi Rolls

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Feeling the `Peace and Spirit' of Roland Garros, Agassi Rolls

Article excerpt

The only problem Andre Agassi had in his opening match Monday at the French Open was figuring out his opponent's herky-jerky service motion. He was more bemused than confused.

Karsten Braasch, a lefthanded German, dips his racket and head unusually low, then uncoils, springing forward and hitting the ball with both feet in the air.

"I have trouble reading his serve every time I play him," Agassi said. "There is so much body happening that it is tough to keep your eye on the yellow fuzzy thing."

The top-seeded Las Vegan saw the ball well enough to pound out a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory in 93 minutes, a perfect start to Agassi's quest to win his first French Open title and complete a career sweep of all four Grand Slam tournaments.

"When you have played here so many years and you have had so many big matches, you have a certain chemistry with it that gives you a sense of peace and spirit," Agassi said. "It has been really nice to be back."

Agassi, who lost in the finals here in 1990 and 1991, comes in as the favorite after winning the last two Grand Slam events - the 1994 U.S. Open and the Australian Open in January.

"There is no question that I am here to accomplish something that I have to do," he said. "By the same token, there is such a safe feeling being back here because I feel like I just know this place so well."

It was a quiet day at Roland Garros, with no major upsets and little drama.

Two-time champion Jim Courier won in straight sets and Thomas Muster extended his clay-court winning streak to 29 matches. Also advancing were Wayne Ferreira, 1994 runner-up Alberto Berasategui, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Andrei Medvedev.

On the women's side, top-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, No. 2 Steffi Graf and No. 8 Gabriela Sabatini won in straight sets - all in less than an hour.

In the day's only surprise, Japan's Ai Sugiyama - ranked No. …

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