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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | TENNIS

Agassi-Washington a Smashing Success

July 27, 1996|Times Wire Services

It turns out two of the world's best tennis players make a pretty fair doubles team.

MaliVai Washington and late replacement Andre Agassi won their first-round match at the Olympics, beating Mexico's Oscar Ortiz and Alejandro Hernandez, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Agassi, already the top-seeded player in singles, joined the doubles tournament when teammate Richey Reneberg withdrew Thursday because of an injury. With the Americans down to two players, they couldn't have continued if Agassi had declined to play doubles.

The new duo immediately became a big attraction.

Fans unable to get into the match on Court 1 lined the top row of the adjacent center-court stadium to watch.

"It's always fun when you're playing some pretty good tennis with that kind of crowd out there," Washington said.

Next up for unseeded Agassi-Washington will be sixth-seeded Wayne and Ellis Ferreira of South Africa on Sunday.

"The Ferreiras would be favored," Gullikson said. "But we have a shot to win the match."

Said Agassi: "Don't be surprised if we end up in the medal round."

Washington also won in singles, beating Oleg Ogorodov of Uzbekistan, 6-3, 6-4. The fourth-seeded American never lost his serve, erasing three break points.

The path to a medal in singles looks promising for both Agassi and Washington. Ten of the 16 seeded players were eliminated in the first two rounds, and No. 4 Washington is the lone seeded player remaining in his half of the draw.

*

In women's singles, Americans Mary Joe Fernandez and Lindsay Davenport advanced to the third round.

Fernandez, seeded seventh, overcame two set points in the opening set and survived 50 unforced errors to beat Shi-Ting Wang, of Taipei, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-1.

Davenport, seeded ninth, beat Naoko Sawamatsu of Japan, 6-2, 6-2.

Thirteen of the 16 women's seeded players remain. No. 2 Conchita Martinez of Spain beat Radka Zrubakova of Slovakia, 6-1, 6-4. No. 4 Iva Majoli beat Virginia Ruano-Pascual of Spain, 7-5, 6-3.

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