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Surprise Package at the Open

Tennis: Meligeni, Agassi on list of unexpected guests at men's semifinals in Paris.

June 04, 1999|LISA DILLMAN

PARIS — Everyone expected a Brazilian to reach the semifinals at the French Open, just not Fernando Meligeni. Nor did anyone count on the appearance of Andre Agassi, Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine or Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.

Today, the 100th-ranked Medvedev will play the 54th-ranked Meligeni in the first semifinal, followed by the 13th-seeded Agassi versus the 30th-ranked Hrbaty. Medvedev is 2-0 vs. Meligeni, but they have never played on clay. Hrbaty defeated Agassi in three sets in their only meeting, at the Lipton Championships in March.

The last time the 29-year-old Agassi reached the semifinals here was in 1992. His most recent Grand Slam title was the 1995 Australian Open. He was twice a finalist at the French Open, in 1990 and 1991.

Agassi nearly did not play here because of a shoulder injury, struggling in the first two rounds. But he has lifted his play, beating defending champion Carlos Moya of Spain in the fourth round. He lost only four games to Marcelo Filippini of Uruguay in the quarterfinals.

"Getting to the semifinals now on a surface that presented many obstacles for me in recent years leads me to believe I can do much more," Agassi said. "This has been nothing short of a great chapter in my career. Now to come back around and actually have a sniff at it feels good."

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Today's Men's Semifinals

* Andre Agassi (13) vs. Dominik Hrbaty

* Fernando Meligeni vs. Andrei Medvedev

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