Agassi out of Pacific Life Open

A baffled Andre Agassi was bundled out of the Pacific Life Open 7-5, 6-2 by Germany's Tommy Haas.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 15:56 IST

A baffled Andre Agassi was bundled out of the $5.27 million Pacific Life Open 7-5, 6-2 by Germany's Tommy Haas.

Despite his status as the Masters Series event's eighth seed, Agassi clearly had his work cut out for him against Haas on Monday, who has already won titles this year in Delray Beach and Memphis and reached the semi-finals in Doha.

Two of the 27-year-old German's three defeats this year have come to world number one Roger Federer, including a fourth-round loss in the Australian Open.

Agassi, in contrast, was playing in just his third tournament of the year after being sidelined by injury late in 2005.

Still, it was unlike the 35-year-old veteran to squander two set points on his own serve in the opening set, which he led 5-4 and 40-15 before Haas roared back.

"I just couldn't get my teeth back in the match," Agassi said.

"I started second-guessing my shots. I never found the pace I was looking for. I played too big some points and some points I would try to control a bit more. Then I'd give him too good of a look."

Despite his lack of tournament play, Agassi acknowledged that he had hoped for more here, where after a first-round bye he needed three sets to beat 63rd-ranked Paul Goldstein.

"I've had a few tournaments to see improvements," he said.

"You know, serving at 40-15 (Agassi) probably should have won the first set," Haas said. "But I didn't let go. He came up with some loose shots. I came up with some good ones."

Third-seeded Andy Roddick, another American who has been trying to turn around an indifferent early season, maintained his momentum with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

Roddick, who powered through a rain-delayed second-round match against Jose Acasuso on Sunday night, was delighted to back up that victory with another solid display.

"It's good," said Roddick, whose four match defeats this year have come against players outside the top 50.

"I feel like I played well two matches in a row here against pretty good players. I haven't done that probably since last fall."

Fourth-seeded Argentinian David Nalbandian also reached the round of 16, beating French qualifier Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-1.

But fifth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko fell 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4 to unseeded compatriot Marat Safin, a former world number one who is working his way back from a career-threatening knee injury.

Two time Indian Wells champion Lleyton Hewitt launched his campaign with a scrambling 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-4 second-round victory over Germany's Rainer Schuettler.

Despite his title drought, and a disappointing second-round exit at the Australian Open left him nursing a sore ankle, Hewitt has been knocking on the door in recent weeks, reaching finals in San Jose in February and Las Vegas last week.

On the women's side, top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium crushed Japan's Aiko Nakamura 6-0, 6-0.

Belgium's Henin-Hardenne, who won the title in her last appearance at Indian Wells in 2004, needed just 55 minutes to dispatch 66th-ranked Nakamura, who was making her first appearance in the California desert.

Sixth-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta literally tumbled out of the tournament, spraining her right ankle in the opening game of her third-round match against Emma Laine. After Laine won the game, Pennetta retired, sending the unseeded Finn into the fourth round.

First Published: Mar 14, 2006 15:56 IST