Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Agassi Gets Scare, Wins in Five Sets

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Agassi Gets Scare, Wins in Five Sets

Article excerpt

Andre Agassi played his worst match of the past year Thursday night against an inspired opponent playing the match of his life in a second-round shocker that came perilously close to toppling the U.S. Open defending champion.

Overpowering the ball, rushing the net wildly and double-faulting on key points, Agassi dug himself into a hole, got furious with himself and somehow crawled out with a 5-7, 6-3, 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Alex Corretja of Spain.

What Agassi and the crowd may remember most about this match will be the backward, over-the-head shot he drilled off a lob in the last game of his fourth-set sweep and the forehand he ripped on the final point.

But what the top-seeded Agassi would no doubt like to forget is how he double-faulted two successive times and dropped a first set filled with his 21 errors, how he started the third set with six errors and fell behind a break, and how he kept brazenly slugging balls with no purpose or rhythm.

"I didn't feel great about a lot of that stuff out there tonight," said Agassi, explaining why he slammed a water bottle to the court after the match. "I was just ticked off. It was 11 o'clock at night. I shouldn't be out there like that."

Agassi, who double-faulted six times, sprayed 67 unforced errors in the 3-hour 7-minute match, compared with Corretja's 32. Of those errors by Agassi, 43 came in the first and third sets he lost. Agassi's boldness also produced far more winners - 87 to 37 - but it could just as easily have cost him the match if Corretja, 21, had not tired and started cramping in the last two sets.

"He got on top of me early, he got the confidence, he believed he could win," Agassi said.

Corretja, a clay court specialist who hits with tremendous top-spin, won the first Open match of his career when he beat Alex O'Brien earlier this week. He lost in the first round here the previous three years. …

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