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AUSTRALIAN OPEN NOTES

This Just in: Reporter Part of Story in Hingis' Victory

January 22, 2002|LISA DILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MELBOURNE, Australia — Ubaldo Scanagatta of the Italian newspaper La Nazione returned to his day job after a brief star turn at Rod Laver Arena today in the women's quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

Scanagatta became a coach when Adriana Serra Zanetti was without a familiar face in the Friends Box for her match against third-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland. Serra Zanetti's coach didn't come here and her sister, Antonella, had to leave Melbourne for another event.

Serra Zanetti, the first Italian woman to reach the quarterfinals here, spotted Scanagatta at breakfast and sealed the deal. He settled into the box and provided moral support during the 73-minute match, which Hingis won, 6-2, 6-3.

A veteran journalist, Scanagatta made the savvy move of quitting as coach before he was sacked. "I resigned. But if we win, I resign from the newspaper," he said, joking.

Hingis will play No. 2 Venus Williams or No. 8 Monica Seles in the semifinals.

*

One of the men's quarterfinals was completed today: No. 16 Thomas Johansson defeated Swedish countryman Jonas Bjorkman, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Johansson reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

*

U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe said he invited Taylor Dent to play in next month's first-round match against Slovakia, but Dent declined, citing a bad back. McEnroe made the offer when Dent was still in the singles. The youngster from Newport Beach, son of former Australian Davis Cup player Phil Dent, has been the subject of an often-humorous tug-of-war between Australia and the U.S., and he is leaning toward playing for McEnroe.

McEnroe also said he will not use an established doubles team against Slovakia, instead choosing four singles players, a wise move considering the physical fragility of Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick. "It's tough because the doubles teams are playing well," he said.

*

Andre Agassi, who withdrew because of an injured right wrist, visited a specialist in Northern California, who has prescribed anti-inflammatory medication for the next two weeks, according to Agassi's management company. Agassi has strained wrist tendons and there is inflammation in the sheath.

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