Agassi roars into quarters with marathon win

Andre Agassi summoned all his shotmaking skills to stage one of his greatest comebacks and enter the French Open quarter-finals.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Andre Agassi summoned all his shotmaking skills and tennis guile to stage one of his greatest comebacks and enter the quarter-finals of the French Open. Trailing by two sets and down a break in the third, the American rallied to beat 20-year-old French wild-card entry Paul-Henri Mathieu 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in 3 hours, 1 minute. After falling behind 2-0 in the third set, Agassi won 11 of 12 games to tie the match at two sets each. The American was down 1-3 in the fifth set, but won the final five games, marking the fourth time in his career that the seven-time Grand Slam champion had lost the first two sets and then rallied to win. The last time he did it was in the 1999 French Open finals when he beat Andrei Medvedev 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Immediately after Mathieu captured the second set, the match was delayed 15 minutes by rain. Once play resumed, Agassi was broken in the first game of the third and his chances of winning appeared slim. But his comeback began when he converted his fifth break point on a Mathieu forehand error to get to 2-2. Agassi will now meet number 11 Juan Carlos Ferrero in the quarter-finals. Ferrero, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros the past two years, also needed five sets and nearly four hours to beat number 31 Gaston Gaudio - 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4. Number 10 Sebastien Grosjean, also a semi-finalist last year, advanced to the quarters by beating Xavier Malisse - 6-2, 7-5, 6-3. On Sunday, Argentine Guillermo Canas ousted top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia. Hewitt's ouster came a mere 30 minutes before two-time defending champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil was also knocked out, beaten 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 by Albert Costa of Spain. (AP)