Agassi in quarterfinals for first time since April
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Andre Agassi rallied from a slow start Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of a tournament for the first time since April, defeating Olivier Delaitre of France 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 in a second-round match at the RCA Championships.
Agassi, the No. 14 seed, was trailing 2-5 and was down love-40 in the opening set before he saved seven set points to win the opening set.
The victory sends him into the third-round at the Indianapolis Tennis Center against third-seeded Alex Corretja of Spain, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 win over Armaud Boetsch of France.
Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia was ousted from the $1 million tournament as Australian Jason Stoltenberg posted a 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4 win in a match that had been suspended by rain Tuesday night.
Stoltenberg, currently ranked 60th in the world, has beaten Ivanisevic three straight times, after having lost badly in his first four matches with the hard-serving Croatian.
``Now I come onto the court believing I can beat him,″ Stoltenberg said. ``That confidence has helped me the last couple of times.″
Stoltenberg said the rain delay probably saved him.
``We came back today, under completely different conditions,″ he said. ``We both started a little slow today, but he was a little slower.″
Ivanisevic had won the first set and was ahead 4-1 in the second when the match was suspended. Stoltenberg found momentum during the overnight break and closed the match with four straight aces against Ivanisevic, who is ranked third in the world.
In other upsets Wednesday, unseeded Australian Grant Stafford defeated No. 8 Cedric Pioline of France 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 and No. 12 Chris Woodruff was beaten by Mark Woodforde of Australia 6-3, 6-3.
Seeded players advancing Wednesday included No. 4 Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, No. 6 Marcel Rios of Chile, No. 7 Todd Woodbridge of Australia and No. 10 Wayne Ferreira of South Africa,
Rios pushed his 1997 record to 41-18 with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Thierry Champion of France; Ferreira, a former champion in the tournament, ousted Eyal Ran of Israel 6-2, 6-3; Enqvist, the 1995 champion, defeated Raviv Weidenfeld of Israel, 6-3, 6-0; and Todd Woodbridge of beat Martin Damm of the Czech Republic, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 7-5.
Agassi, who has been battling a wrist injury, had lost in the first round in three straight and five of his last six tournaments. The slump dropped the world’s former top-ranked player to 74th in the latest ATP ratings, but he said he is beginning to feel more comfortable on the court.
``I’ve seen a lot of improvement on the practice court,″ Agassi said. ``This is the first week that it’s starting to translate into something positive.″
Despite his two victories here, Agassi said he hasn’t played great tennis at Indianapolis, ``But I know it’s going to get better,″ he said.
Top-ranked and top-seeded Pete Sampras was scheduled to make his debut in this year’s tournament Wednesday night, seeking to win the championship for the fourth time. He was scheduled to play qualifier Joshua Eagle of Australia, who at No. 585 is the lowest-ranked player left in the tournament
Sampras will be looking to win his 13th consecutive match on the ATP tour.