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Agassi Reaches Salem Open Final

April 10, 1999

HONG KONG (AP) _ Andre Agassi put his personal problems behind him Saturday and advanced to the final of the Salem Open, along with Boris Becker.

Agassi, seeking his first title of the year, beat Germany’s Hendrik Dreekmann 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals. Becker defeated German compatriot Bernd Karbacher 6-4, 6-4.

The last time Becker and Agassi met was in the semifinals of the 1995 U.S. Open, where Agassi won in four sets.

``It will be a great final,″ Agassi said. ``We can create another memory on court.″

Agassi and actress Brooke Shields filed for divorce in Las Vegas Friday.

``It is over,″ Agassi said of his 2-year marriage.

The third-seeded Agassi, who entered the tournament as a wild card, denied coming to Asia to get away from the pressures of a high-profile divorce. Agassi, ranked 12th in the world, said he needed to play more tennis.

``I will be going to Tokyo soon after this tournament to play in the Japan Open,″ he said.

Agassi started slowly against Dreekmann, dropping his first service game, but rallied to break his opponent three times to win the first set. Agassi was overpowering in the second set.

``I did not find my rhythm straight away,″ Agassi said. ``I am moving well and hitting the ball well.″

Karbacher, who eliminated No. 2 seed Patrick Rafter of Australia in the first round, had no answers for Becker’s serve-and-volley game.

``My timing and rhythm is very good,″ Becker said. ``I am thrilled to be in the final.″

Becker’s last tournament win was in 1996, at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich.

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