Blake to clash with Agassi in US Open quarters
Agassi beat Malisse to become the oldest man into the US Open quarters since Jimmy Connors in 1991.india Updated: Sep 06, 2005 19:33 IST
Miracle man James Blake played his way into a dream US Open quarter-final clash against legendary Andre Agassi, little more than a year after wondering if he would ever take to the court again.
The number 49 earned a third career win over Spain's Tommy Robredo 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
The against-the-odds continuation of Blake's career stands as a marvel of medical science, after the New York-born player cracked a neck vertebrae during a spring 2004 collision with a metal net post in Rome.
After that shock, the player also suffered a facial paralysis and the death of his father. He showed determination with a return to form through a second-ever career title, lifted last weekend in New Haven, Connecticut.
Blake won only his ninth career match at the Open as he overcame Roberdo in a spirited comeback.
Old pro Agassi let a quick victory slip from his grasp but recovered to drive Xavier Malisse out in just less than three hours, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 4-6, 6-2.
Against Malisse, Agassi needed to rally after a slump while leading two sets to love and 5-3 in the third-set tiebreaker.
Agassi bore down as the contest spiralled into a fifth set, firing three straight aces to take a 5-2 lead before breaking Malisse's service game to become the oldest man into the US Open quarters since Jimmy Connors in 1991.
"I was not happy about being in a fifth after being up two sets to love, but I did know I was going to make him earn it," said the eight-time Grand Slam champion playing in his 20th open.
Argentine eighth seed Guillermo Coria triumphed in a bad-tempered match, which became the longest of the tournament at four hours, 32 minutes, winning a South American battle with Chile's Nicolas Massu6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-2.
Women's numbertwo Lindsay Davenport, the 1998 champion, was untroubled by France's Nathalie Dechy, delivering a 6-0, 6-3 thrashing to move to an 8-0 mark in their series.
Third seed Amelie Mauresmo ousted Russia's Elena Likhovtseva 6-1, 6-4, while 2004 finalist Elena Dementieva dispatched Swiss 11th seed Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-3.
"Today was the best match I have played since Wimbledon," said Davenport, whose summer tune-up consisted of one title a week ago at New Haven, after the flare-up of a back injury kept her away for most of a month.
"It's the kind of tennis I want to play. What happens on Wednesday, I have no idea. But I am really happy to be in the quarters. It will be a tricky match-up. Dementieva will try to hit the ball harder than I do," said the Californian.
First Published: Sep 06, 2005 19:33 IST