Advertisement

VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Agassi Pins Defeat on Bryan

Tennis: Rookie pro from Camarillo puts up battle before losing to world's No. 13 player in first round of Mercedes-Benz Cup.

July 29, 1998|DAVE WHARTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The day began with Bob Bryan sitting in his bedroom, back home in Camarillo, staring at all the Andre Agassi posters he pinned to the walls as a boy.

The day ended with Bryan seeing even more of Agassi, this time across the net.

"I couldn't believe I was on the same court as the guy," Bryan said. "It was pretty weird."

It was also a fairly respectable showing as the young pro lost a tough match to his idol, 6-4, 6-3, in the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Cup at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA.

"He's really flashy and he hits the ball huge," Bryan said. "He just took some of my big serves inside the baseline and put me on my heels."

All in all, Bryan could feel good about his performance as a wild-card entry in the singles draw.

Not only was he playing Agassi, but he was playing near home for the first time since he and his twin, Mike, left Stanford to turn professional earlier this summer.

Dozens of friends and family showed up for the match, dominating a corner of the stadium court. They held cardboard signs and yelled after nearly every point.

They were saying "Let's go, Bob," and "C'mon, Bob," and just about anything else that went with the name "Bob."

"It was like a circus out there," Bryan said.

Down on the court, Bryan was trying not to look across the net too much. He did not want to become overwhelmed.

But some early jitters had him down, 2-0, before he fought his way back into the match against an opponent who, at times, looked impatient.

"He's a little deceptive," Agassi said. "He hits shots you think you can take advantage of and then he comes up with some good counterpunches."

The 13th-ranked player in the world was also a bit taken aback, but for an entirely different reason. He was facing an opponent who had been collecting his autograph for the last 10 years.

"It definitely makes you feel older," Agassi said.

But every time the match grew tight, it was Agassi who reached the wide balls and hit the tough shots. It was Agassi who won all the crucial points.

He smacked an ace to lead 5-3, then took the set with an artful shot, charging the net and hitting a drop volley with a big looping swing.

In the second set, his served picked up. An ace gave him another 5-3 lead. Then he won with an overhead down the line.

The match was over in just 1 hour 13 minutes. For Bryan, who plays in the doubles draw with his brother tonight, it couldn't have lasted long enough.

There was a wide smile on his face as he trotted to the net to shake Agassi's hand.

"This was easily the most fun match I have ever played," he said. "It was awesome."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|