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Archive for Sunday, January 26, 2003

Agassi cruises in Australian final

January 26, 2003

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— Andre Agassi just keeps getting better with age.

Agassi overwhelmed Rainer Schuettler right from the start and won his fourth Australian Open title 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 today, becoming the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles crown in 31 years.

At 32, Agassi won his eighth Grand Slam title. And the victory also might have been enough to lure his wife, Steffi Graf, out of retirement.

Agassi had said earlier that if he won this tournament, Graf would be his partner for mixed doubles in the French Open. After the final point, Agassi gave a quick wink into the stands to Graf.

Agassi was the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open in 1972 at 37.

It was a mismatch from the beginning.

Agassi sent back Schuettler's first serve back so hard that the German player could only push it long.

Agassi won the first eight points of the match. When Schuettler finally won a point to start the third game, he raised his hands in mock triumph.

Agassi now has won the Australian Open four of the seven times he has entered. He also had won in 1995, 2000 and 2001, but injured his wrist on the eve of last year's Australian.

The second-seeded Agassi was in complete control throughout the match, finishing off the 31st-seeded Schuettler in one hour, 16 minutes.

Agassi matched the most-lopsided victory ever at the Australian Open. By losing only five games, he tied the mark last done in 1926 when John Hawkes defeated Jim Willard 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

Andre Agassi won the Australian Open men's final in straight sets.

Andre Agassi won the Australian Open men's final in straight sets.

Overall, it was the most-lopsided Grand Slam men's final since John McEnroe lost just four games to Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon in 1984.

To go with his four Australian wins, Agassi has won two U.S. Open titles and once each at Wimbledon and the French Open. He's also lost six Grand Slam finals.

His eight Grand Slam titles tie him at sixth with Rosewall, Connors, Ivan Lendl and Fred Perry.

Agassi also is the fourth man to win at least four Australian titles. Roy Emerson had six, and Rosewall and Jack Crawford four each.

In extending his winning streak at this tournament to 21 matches, he lost only 48 games in seven matches this time.

Agassi collected $654,000 for winning, bringing his career tournament winnings past $26.3 million.

At age 46, Martina Navratilova also is a Grand Slam champion again. Navratilova served out the match, teaming with India's Leander Paes to beat Todd Woodbridge and Eleni Daniilidou 6-4, 7-5 today for the mixed doubles championship.

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