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Agassi Advances At French


Sensing he had nothing to lose, an aggressive Andre Agassi jolted the French Open on Sunday by beating defending champion Carlos Moya to reach the quarterfinals.

This was Agassi's best result at the French Open since 1995, when he also reached the quarters.

After losing the first set and trailing 1-4 in the second, Agassi revived his game against a clay-court master and won 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-1.

"Things weren't going so well, and I just decided what the heck, if I'm going to lose, I'm going to lose (by) executing," Agassi said. "In the first set, he was just beating me."

Breaking Moya's serve two straight times, Agassi won six of seven games to take the second set. The crowd began chanting his name.

The third set stayed on serve until Agassi, leading 6-5, broke Moya's serve again when the Spaniard netted a forehand.

Andre Agassi pulls out a vintage performance to upset defending French Open champ Carlos Moya.
Andre Agassi used a vintage performance to upset defending champion Carlos Moya. (AP)

In the third set, Agassi allowed Moya only one game, closing the match with a backhand lob to the corner that Moya could only just touch, sending a forehand into the bottom of the net.

Moya dropped his racket in disgust, then handed it to a fan as he left the court.

Moving on to the quarterfinals were top-seeded Martina Hingis, defending champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.

Hingis defeated Ruxandra Dragomir of Romania 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) and will next face Schwartz.

Sanchez-Vicario automatically advanced when Mary Joe Fernandez, who jolted Serena Williams in the third round, withdrew because of a groin injury during doubles.

Graf fought off Anna Kournikova to win 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), setting up a showdown with Davenport. Graf was in command when Kournikova broke in the second set to make it 5-5. Two games later, Graf saved three set points to force a tiebreaker, which she won when Kournikova hit her last forehand wide.

"It's nice to be back," said Graf, a five-time French champion. "I've had some memorable matches on center court."

Seles defeated the last Frenchwoman in the draw, Julie Halard Decugis, 6-1, 7-5.

Among the men, Chile's Marcelo Rios, one of the favorites to win in Paris, came from two sets down to beat Alberto Berasategui 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Rios will meet Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty, who defeated Marat Safin, the powerful young Russian, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

Williams, who had appeared primed for championship contention, now joins her sister Serena on the French sidelines.

That makes Hingis happy she will nw meet Schwartz instead of Venus Williams in the quarters.

"I think the candle I lit at Sacre Coeur helped," she said. Earlier in the week she said she had lighted a candle at the famous church in Montmartre to help her chances.

Williams saved two match points in the final set before losing. Schwartz had saved three match points in the second set and forced a tiebreaker. The 20-year-old Austrian had never gone this far in a Grand Slam before.

"It was just a great match," Schwartz said. "After the first set I was getting tired, but I decided to fight until the end. I believed I had a chance if I would just fight, and it worked."

When asked why she hadn't played so well in the past, Schwartz said she had been concentrating on her studies and hadn't much time for tennis.

"It was important to go to school because now I have something else besides tennis," she said. Asked to describe herself, she said, "I'm just normal."

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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