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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

Fish Defeats Agassi, Faces Roddick in Final

February 15, 2004|From Staff and Wire Reports

Andy Roddick was expected to reach his first final of the tennis season. Mardy Fish will be making a surprise appearance.

The third-seeded Fish overpowered second-seeded Andre Agassi, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, on Saturday night to advance to the final of the Siebel Open in San Jose. Fish will face the top-seeded Roddick, who beat wild-card entry Robert Kendrick, 7-6 (3), 6-2, in an earlier semifinal.

"I don't know how I beat him, but I did," Fish said.

Try a career-high 29 aces to Agassi's 11, and by breaking Agassi's serve twice in the third set. Some animosity might have helped too.

During the last game of the second set, Fish pumped his fist toward his coach, Kelly Jones, after winning a point. Agassi pumped his fist in return.

"Obviously, he thought I fist-pumped to him," said Fish, who had never played Agassi before. "But that's not what happened. I've never fist-pumped anyone before. Why would I do it to Andre Agassi? It fired me up, though, and made me want to beat him even more."

Fish finished Agassi off with an ace and quietly walked off the court to a nice ovation.

"Once I was down a break, that was a pretty big momentum change," said Agassi, who had eight double-faults. "All of a sudden he's in control of the match. I lost rhythm on my serve and threw in a couple of double-faults that let me down."

As for the fist pump, Agassi suggested he was just frustrated about his own serve.

"I started forcing it," Agassi said. "I didn't come through in the second set, and he did everything he needed to do."

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Top-seeded Kim Clijsters routed 17-year-old Dinara Safina, 6-1, 6-1, to set up a final with Mary Pierce in the Gaz de France in Paris. Pierce defeated 16-year-old Tatiana Golovin, 6-4, 6-0, in her semifinal. Golovin strained her left hip and needed treatment after the first set.

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Mario Ancic defeated Thomas Johansson, 6-3, 6-4, at the Milan Indoors to advance to his first ATP final. The 19-year-old Ancic will play Anthony Dupuis, who beat Gregory Carraz, 6-4, 6-4, in the other semifinal.

Winter Sports

Hermann Maier led an Austrian sweep in a World Cup downhill at St. Anton, Austria, and regained the lead in the overall standings.

Maier's victory was his fourth this season and 46th of his career. He is tied for third place on the World Cup list with Marc Girardelli. Ingemar Stenmark is first with 86 wins. Alberto Tomba is second with 50.

Maier covered the Karl Schranz course in 1 minute 56.09 seconds. Stephen Eberharter was second in 1:56.41. Johann Grugger was third in 1:56.46 for his first top-three finish. In all, seven Austrians were in the top 10.

The top American was Bode Miller of Bretton Woods, N.H., who finished eighth in 1:56.89.

Maier overtook teammate Benjamin Raich for first place in the overall standings with 1,054 points. Raich, who did not race, dropped to second at 985.

Eberharter virtually clinched the downhill title, which he won in 2002 and 2003. He leads Maier by 163 points with two races remaining. Eberharter has 671 points and Maier has 508.

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Janne Ahonen of Finland won a World Cup ski jump event at Willingen, Germany, for his third victory this season to extend his lead in the standings. He soared 132.5 meters in the first heat and 133.5 in the second on the K120 hill for 242.8 points.

Soccer

A senior member of the Al Qaeda terror network told U.S. authorities the group had plans to carry out attacks in Japan during the 2002 World Cup tournament, the daily Sankei newspaper reported Saturday in Tokyo, citing unidentified government sources.

U.S. authorities advised Japan of the information, which is believed to have come from the militant Islamic group's third-ranking official, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The attacks were not carried out because Al Qaeda did not have a network in Japan, which hosted the 2002 event with South Korea, according to the Sankei.

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Roger Lemerre made soccer history by coaching Tunisia to a 2-1 victory over Morocco in the African Cup of Nations at Tunis, Tunisia, becoming the only coach to win two different continental championships. Lemerre added the African Cup to the 2000 European Championship title he won with France.

Swimming

Michael Phelps raced to his fifth consecutive title in the Spring Nationals at Orlando, Fla., winning the 200-meter individual medley in 1 minute 56.08 seconds. Phelps, who tied the record for individual titles in a national meet that he set last summer, also won the 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 100 and 200 freestyle.

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The No. 7 UCLA women ended a 10-year losing streak to USC by defeating the 11th-ranked Trojans, 211.50-88.50, at the men's gym pool in Westwood. The Bruins swept six events.

Motor Racing

Yamaha's Chad Reed won his fifth THQ World Supercross GP/THQ AMA Supercross Series race before 45,126 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Kawasaki's James Stewart won the opening round of THQ AMA Supercross Series 125cc Eastern Regional competition.

Arena Football

Dan Curran's one-yard run as time expired and Brian Schmitz's extra point gave the expansion New Orleans VooDoo a 41-40 victory over the Indiana Firebirds in front of 14,236 in New Orleans.... Kevin McKenzie scored on a run, a pass reception and an interception in the Colorado Crush's 55-37 victory over the Grand Rapids Rampage in front of 9,288 in Grand Rapids, Mich..... The Chicago Rush beat the New York Dragons, 56-54, in front of 10,720 at Uniondale, N.Y. Aaron Garcia threw seven touchdown passes for the Dragons.

Passings

Marco Pantani, the former Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner who had been plagued by doping accusations and suspensions in recent years, was found dead Saturday in Rimini, Italy, Italian news reports said. Story in B Section.

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