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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Straight-Set Victory Puts Agassi on Track

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- Andre Agassi, fighting to return to tennis respectability, evened his 1997 record at nine wins, nine losses with a straight-sets victory to gain the quarter-finals of the $1 million RCA Championships.


While top seed Pete Sampras fell Thursday 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) to Swede Magnus Larsson, the 14th-seeded Agassi defeated third-seeded Spaniard Alex Corretja 7-5, 6-1 in 82 minutes.


Agassi, looking to improve a world ranking of 74th, saved three Corretja set points in the opening set, then gained total control to sweep to victory. It was easily the best performance of the year for Agassi, who stood atop the ATP computer rankings two years ago.


"This was more than just a step forward," said the 27-year-old winner. "This was a comfortable win. If I can get the point started I can use my hard-core shots to beat him."


Agassi won the last four games of the first set on Thursday and was virtually untouchable in the second. He last won three matches in a row in February in San Jose, California.


Corretja joined a list of notable upset victims that has left just one of the top eight seeds -- fifth seed Carlos Moya of Spain -- still in contention. Fourth-seeded Swede Thomas Enqvist was upset 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 by Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic, while sixth seed Marcelo Rios of Chile lost 7-6 (6-4), 6-4 to Australian Mark Woodforde, Agassi's next opponent.


Sampras, the defending champion here, was particularly dismayed to lose a match without losing his serve. He complained that the balls used here flew off his racket, but he had better get used to the feel, as they are the ones to be used at the U.S. Open, which starts in just over a week.


"This was a tough one to lose," said Sampras. "I've just got to put this one behind me, take a few days off and go to the U.S. Open."


Jonas Bjorkman gave Sweden two men in the last eight with his win over Australian Todd Woodbridge, the seventh seed, 6-2, 7-5.


Moya stopped Australian Richard Fromberg 6-4, 6-3 while 10th-seeded Wayne Ferreira beat fellow South African Grant Stafford 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).


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In Toronto, fifth seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain and sixth seed Mary Pierce of France were upset in third-round matches Thursday at the $926,250 du Maurier Canadian Open.


Sanchez Vicario, ranked 11th in the world, was beaten by 10th-seeded American Mary Joe Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 and the 10th-ranked Pierce lost to qualifier Rita Grande of Italy 6-2, 6-2.


With top-seeded Monica Seles getting a day off, the highest seeded players in action were third seed Amanda Coetzer of South Africa and fourth seed Lindsay Davenport of the United States.


Coetzer, ranked sixth, beat 11th-seeded Kimberly Po 6-4, 6-3, and fifth-ranked Davenport downed 49th-ranked Magui Serna of Spain 7-5, 6-4.


Also advancing to Friday's quarter-finals were seventh-seeded Conchita Martinez of Spain, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Yayuk Basuki of Indonesia, and eighth-seeded Anke Huber of Germany, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Sandrine Testud of France. Unseeded Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, ranked 43rd, defeated Naoko Sawamatsu of Japan 7-5, 6-4.