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The Inside Track | Newswire

Corretja Takes Advantage of Erratic Agassi's Bad Day

August 21, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Alex Corretja needed only 72 minutes Sunday to outclass top-seeded Andre Agassi, 6-2, 6-3, and win the Legg Mason Tennis Classic at Washington.

Agassi, a five-time winner of the hardcourt tournament, was erratic all afternoon from the baseline. He committed 38 unforced errors and finished with four double faults, including one that ended the first set.

"Of course Andre didn't play his best tennis, but it is always the same when one guy plays well, the other is difficult to get through," the second-seeded Corretja said. "If he always played his best, he would be unbeatable."

Agassi's first sign of faltering came when he was serving at 2-3 in the first set. Facing a break point, Agassi double-faulted, something he would repeat later in the set while serving at 2-5.

Agassi appeared to return to the form that he had displayed earlier in the week by breaking Corretja's serve in the second set's opening game. However, the 26-year-old Spaniard responded by breaking Agassi right back in the next game.

"The guy played an obscene game. He came in and made a couple of beautiful backhand volleys up the line," Agassi said. "He played well to stop the momentum."

*

Top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten won his first hardcourt title, edging third-seeded Marat Safin, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), in the $800,000 RCA Championships at Indianapolis.

The title was the fourth this year for Kuerten, the French Open champion previously known as a claycourt specialist, and tied him with Lleyton Hewitt as the winningest player on the ATP Tour this year. He earned $115,000 with the victory and boosted his ATP Champions Race points total to 622, an 89-point advantage over Magnus Norman.

Kuerten and Safin have met five times, and each match has gone the distance--three times to a fifth set. And for the third consecutive time, the decisive set ended with a tiebreaker. Safin leads the series 3-2, but this was Kuerten's second win in a row.

Six unforced errors in the second-set tiebreaker led to Safin's downfall. Kuerten had 35 unforced errors--10 less than Safin--and only managed to capitalize on two of his eight break opportunities.

*

Martina Hingis retained her du Maurier Open title when Serena Williams retired in the third set with a foot injury.

Hingis led 0-6, 6-3, 3-0 when Williams informed chair umpire Anne Lasserre-Ulrich she was unable to continue playing.

Williams had received treatment at courtside after the second set for what appeared to be a blister on her left foot.

Hingis, ranked No. 1 in the world, won the du Maurier last year in Toronto.

Hingis, 19, ended a three-match losing streak to the 18-year-old Williams, who defeated the Swiss ace in a semifinal last week at Manhattan Beach.

The Hingis victory also ended the Williams family winning streak. Serena Williams and her older sister Venus had won four tournaments in a row between them and had not lost to anyone except each other in 29 consecutive matches. Venus didn't play the du Maurier.

Miscellany

Tammy Thomas of Yazoo City, Miss., who challenged speedskater Chris Witty's appointment to the U.S. track cycling team, rode alone in a 500-meter time trial at the Superdrome track in Frisco, Texas. She was clocked in 35.497 seconds.

Earlier this month, an arbitrator ruled a rideoff was needed to help determine a spot on the Olympic squad. But Witty has filed a counter-complaint and, citing the pending litigation, she skipped the showdown.

Witty, who lives in Park City, Utah, is trying to become the first American woman, and only the fourth person ever, to win medals at the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Lance Armstrong finished fifth, more than a minute behind winner Laurent Dufaux, in the Zurich Championship in Switzerland, the last World Cup cycling road race before the Olympics. Armstrong, who has won the Tour de France the last two years after coming back from cancer, didn't match the pace of Dufaux and two other riders who broke away and battled in a tight sprint.

Sweden, Denmark and Norway have agreed to file a joint protest over the International Amateur Athletic Federation's controversial decision to reduce world high jump record-holder Javier Sotomayor's doping suspension.

Finland also was likely to join the Nordic protest, Antti Pihlakoski, secretary general of the Finnish federation, said from Helsinki.

The initiative came from Denmark's track federation last week, the day after Sotomayor made his comeback in a French meet.

The Danes also were upset that the IAAF reduced bans of other athletes suspended for doping offenses.

Clint Mathis scored two goals and the New York-New Jersey MetroStars scored three times in a six-minute span in the second half at East Rutherford, N.J., for a 5-3 MLS victory over Colorado, the Rapids' third consecutive loss.

Champion Malcolm Tunacao of the Philippines retained the World Boxing Council's flyweight title at Tokyo after he fought to a 12-round draw against 10th-ranked Shoji Kobayashi of Japan.

Augie Sanchez was treated and released from a local hospital after being taken from the ring on a stretcher after his World Boxing Organization featherweight title bout against Prince Naseem Hamed at Mashantucket, Conn., on Saturday. Sanchez was taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich, where a nursing supervisor said Sunday he had been treated and released. She would not provide further details, but Dr. Joseph Carpentieri said after the fight that Sanchez had probably suffered a concussion.

Steve Holcomb and Tricia Stumpf won the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Push Championships at Lake Placid, N.Y. Holcomb, of Park City, Utah, won in a time of 10.143 seconds for the two heats. Stumpf, also of Park City, won the women's division in 11.379.

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