Old School Agassi Outlasts Roddick in Cincinnati Epic

Posted on August 8, 2004

In perhaps the best match of the season, No. 11 seed Andre Agassi went old school and summoned-up some of his best tennis in recent years in outlasting defending champion and second-seeded Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-7(2), 7-6(2) to advance to the finals of the Tennis Masters Cincinnati.

Agassi, who at 34 is 13 years older than his American counterpart, withstood a barrage of aces and winners from the Babolat-wielding Roddick, and sent a clear and welcomed message to the tennis world that he still has game.

"Every day I'm answering questions about retirement, except for tonight, so it's the life,” said Agassi who has been answering the “R question” week-in and week-out. “That's the life I live now. If I don't go out there and produce, it's disappointing."

In the tight affair, Agassi took the first set after breaking Roddick at 5-5. That would prove to be the last service break of the night as neither player had a break chance in the final two sets. Agassi’s game fell apart in the second set breaker and handed Roddick the tie-break 7-2. In the final set tie-break Agassi raced out to a 5-1 lead and won 7-2 with his own ace.

"It felt great to be out there,” Agassi said. “It was a high-intensity match and a lot of great rallies. We both brought our game, you know. It was one of those that could have gone either way the whole time, it felt like."

Roddick, who entered the match having won 26 of his last 28 matches, appeared agitated with chair umpire Norm Chryst throughout the battle, but still played at an extremely high level and applauded Agassi in the end.

"It's disappointing,” said Roddick afterward. “He played great. I was hanging on the whole time. He didn't really give me an open look. There weren't a lot of unforced errors, and that's as clean as someone's hit the ball against me, so props to him."

With the win, Agassi earns a spot in his first tour final of the year as the 8-time slam champion seeks his first title since claiming Houston in spring of 2003. Awaiting Agassi will be a well-rested Lleyton Hewitt, who had little trouble in crushing unseeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-2 in just 54 minutes.

"I haven't played (him) for a couple of years,” said Hewitt of his 4-3 advantage against Agassi. “We've always had tight battles. Last time I played him I think was the US Open semifinal, and lost that one in four sets."