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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chang Upsets Agassi, to Meet Becker

MELBOURNE -- This time Andre Agassi dug himself into a hole too deep to escape.


As defending champion Agassi mixed too many misses with his impressive winners, Michael Chang scrambled into the Australian Open final with a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) victory Friday, and still hasn't lost a set in the tournament.


Chang, whose only Grand Slam title so far came in the 1989 French Open, will meet Boris Becker on Sunday.


Becker, who has won five Grand Slams but none since the Australian in 1991, beat Australian giant-killer Mark Woodforde 6-4, 6-2, 6-0.


"I felt I was playing a flawless match almost,'' Becker said.


Agassi had regained the No. 1 ranking by reaching the semifinals. But in the five matches it took to do that, he lost his first set four times, had to play three five-setters and was two sets behind before beating Jim Courier in the quarterfinals.


While Agassi was playing 22 sets, No. 5 seed Chang was losing only 37 games in 15 sets. Easy opponents, some critics said.


But Chang's ability to run down and get back apparent winners was too much for Agassi as well.


After one Agassi winner, a fan marveled: "You have to hit a lot of shots to win a point.''


Agassi said, "I felt rather flat. I have played a lot of sets.''


"To play in the wind against a guy like Michael, who's going to make you move corner to corner, and being flat at the same time, I felt like I had to take early chances and points, and I just didn't quite have it today,'' he added.


The result of that risky play was 34 winners against 60 unforced errors. Chang had more winners, 41, and 22 unforced errors.


Chang, who also had 13 aces, said the wind didn't bother him.


He is using a 71-centimeter racket -- 2.5 centimeters longer than usual -- and it appears to have helped his service game.


In the second set, trailing 3-0, Agassi looked like he was about to turn things around, winning six straight points, breaking Chang with a spectacular drop shot and a forehand passing shot down the line and holding serve at love. He broke again to 3-3.


But Chang broke back immediately when Agassi hit a smash long and then netted a backhand.


Chang said he felt Agassi wasn't playing his best.


Still, he said, "it's a great confidence booster to me to have a win because over the years Andre has beaten me most of the time. This is the first time I've ever beaten him in a major.''


Agassi's record against Chang now is 9-5.


Woodforde's loss came as a disappointment on the national holiday, Australia Day. Using changes of pace and spin to overcome power, the 30-year-old doubles star had reached his first singles Grand Slam semifinal by beating fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis -- the teenager who knocked Pete Sampras out of the No. 1 ranking -- and No. 7 Thomas Enqvist of Sweden.


But No. 4 Becker, who had struggled early in the tournament, came up with 12 aces and a total of 45 winners, and cashed in on 7 of 19 break points.


"Boris had one of those days where probably God could have been up on the other end and he still would have beaten Him pretty easily,'' Woodforde said.


Becker said of his own form: "It does obviously feel very good.''


In recent years, he said, opponents had become used to his style of play.


"So I had to improve all over. I had to serve better, I had to serve differently at different times, my groundstrokes had to be better and I had to improve overall,'' Becker added.