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Ageless Agassi storms on, Federer in hurry

Andre Agassi thumped former world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-3 7-6 6-4 on Sunday, racking up his 199th victory in a grand slam match to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

india Updated: Sep 01, 2003 11:20 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

A pumped-up Andre Agassi thumped former world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-3 7-6 6-4 on Sunday, racking up his 199th victory in a grand slam match to reach the fourth round of the US Open.

"I think a lot of things went well...I managed to sneak out that second set tiebreak and then I was off to the races," Agassi told reporters after notching his sixth successive win over the Russian.

The top seed was swiftly followed into the winners' circle by a restrained Andy Roddick, who this time let his tennis do all the talking in a brutal 6-1 6-3 6-3 demolition of Brazilian Flavio Saretta.

But Americans did not have it all their own way at their grand slam.

New Yorker James Blake was taught a lesson by an imperious Roger Federer, the second seed and Wimbledon champion winning 6-3 7-6 6-3, and in the women's draw 17th seed Meghann Shaughnessy was walloped 6-2 6-4 by world number one Kim Clijsters.

Belgian top seed Clijsters will next meet fifth seed Amelie Mauresmo of France, who overpowered Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-2 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals. Federer next meets David Nalbandian of Argentina.

Nalbandian, who leads Federer 4-0 in matches played, saw off Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis 7-5 6-7 6-3 6-2.

Earlier, third seed Lindsay Davenport became the first woman through to the quarters when she struggled past Russian Nadia Petrova 6-0 6-7 6-2.

PAIN-KILLING INJECTION

Davenport, the 1998 US Open champion, had a pain-killing injection in her toe before the season's last grand slam, and she appeared to be moving gingerly towards the end of the one hour 52 minutes match.

"It is what it is," the American said of the injury. "I still feel pretty good...was able to get through it."

Davenport will face Paola Suarez in the quarters. The 24th seed from Argentina beat Russian Elena Likhovtseva 6-2 3-6 7-5.

Having been accused by Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic of influencing linesmen with his animated behaviour in an emotionally-charged second-round clash, Roddick was subdued throughout his 87-minute match.

His tennis certainly did not suffer, however, and he heads into the next match with Belgian Xavier Malisse a deserved favourite to win his first grand slam.

"I didn't need it," he said, explaining why he had been subdued. "Just so happened that the other night I really needed it," he added, referring to his on-court antics of pumping himself up.

World number one Agassi barely put a foot wrong once his match, held over from Saturday night, resumed under cloudless skies with the American leading 6-3 0-1.

"It was a tough day yesterday for both me and the Y-man," he added, referring to the rain that had halted the contest overnight.

TOP-NOTCH PERFORMANCE

Twice a winner at Flushing Meadows and three-times runner- up, including last year, the 33-year-old Agassi underlined his determination to win a ninth grand slam with a top-notch performance.

His receiving radar will have to be fully functional in the next round, however, when he lines up opposite massive server Taylor Dent of the US.

"His serve is a monster and has a lot of firepower," Agassi said. "I'll got out there expecting him to play a great match... anything shy of a great match doesn't get it done for him."

Federer was in sublime form throughout his first foray under the floodlights, finishing off Blake in two hours.

In the second set alone Federer held 20 break points on the Blake serve, managing to convert only one.

"Yeah, I will have to improve that," he said. "But all in all I am happy with the match.

"I'm happy with my hardcourt performance so far... now I have just got to keep it up because I have a tough match next."

The Swiss player's late-night win meant for the first time since 1981 all of the top eight men's seeds had made it through to the last 16 here.

Earlier, 22nd seed Younes El Aynaoui thrilled a Grandstand Court crowd with a pulsating 7-6 5-7 3-6 6-3 7-6 triumph over 10th-seeded Czech Jiri Novak.

The delighted Moroccan, whose wife Anne Sophie had the couple's third son last week, ripped off his shirt and hurled his rackets into the crowd after clinching victory.

El Aynaoui meets Spain's Carlos Moya in the fourth round.

"When I was watching tennis I would love to get a piece of a tennis player, a wristband or anything," El Aynaoui said.

"So I am always trying to give things away and make people happy...I'm trying to get some more rackets right now."

First Published: Sep 01, 2003 11:20 IST