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Agassi Reaches Legg Mason Quarters

August 16, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Andre Agassi started quickly but had to fight his way into the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic with a 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory over Brian Vahaly on Thursday night.

The top-seeded Agassi overpowered Vahaly in the first set, but in the second Vahaly started making him work harder.

Agassi was forced to serve his way into a tiebreaker, but then Agassi’s experience began to show. He won the first four points of the tiebreaker, capped by a big forehand return. Vahaly closed the gap to 4-2, but another service winner from Agassi and a double fault from Vahaly ended Vahaly’s chance for an upset.

Joining Agassi in the quarterfinals is Alex Corretja, who upset Agassi in the 2000 final. The fourth-seeded Corretja beat Karol Kucera 6-1, 6-1.

The 2000 tournament champion set the tone early, taking a 3-0 lead before Kucera won his first game. Corretja ran off three more games to close out the first set.

Kucera squandered an opportunity to make the match competitive when he failed to convert on any of four break points in the second game of the second set. The hold of serve started the run of six straight games for the Spaniard, ending in appropriate fashion on Kucera’s eighth double fault.

``Once you have some chances and you don’t take them, you don’t feel like you are going to beat the guy ever,″ Corretja said of Kucera’s effort in the second set. The second set after 1-0 was pretty easy, I guess.″

Fourteenth-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan knocked oust last year’s finalist, third-seeded Sjeng Schalken, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Srichaphan was serving at 4-2 in the final set when he missed an overhead to allow the match to get back on serve.

Also making the quarterfinals was Marcelo Rios, who knocked off the colorful Jerome Golmard 6-3, 6-1. The No. 6 seed James Blake beat Guillermo Coria 6-4, 7-5.

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