March 10, 2000
Scottsdale (Arizona), March 9: Andre Agassi re-lived the past with a repeat victory against a man whom he beat here in the final seven years ago at the $ 375,000 Franklin Templeton Classic.
In 1993, Agassi claimed the first of three titles at the event as he overcame South African Marcos Ondruska.
In Wednesday’s opening encounter, World No. 1 Agassi played like the Grand Slam champion that he is on the way to a 6-2, 6-1 result and earned a place in the second round opposite Spain’s Francisco Clavet.
Ondruska had to qualify into this year’s even, while Agassi, winner of three of the last four Grand Slams, is top seed and riding atop the tennis world.
“It always nice to win,” said Agassi, who earned his 20th victory at the tournament. “I’ve been trying to get my game back together.” He was injured during the recent Davis Cup tie in Zimbabwe.
“I can’t complain with how I played. The weather is not easy on any of us. It’s cool and easy to feel a bit tentative — nobody wants to be cold.”
A trio of seeds followed Agassi’s example by moving ahead. Fourth seed Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador defeated Australian Andrew Ilie 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, while No. 5 Tim Henman of Britain recovered nicely from a break of serve in each set to oust Austria’s Stefan Koubek 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
Sixth seed Lleyton Hewitt improved to a 16-1 mark for the year, overcoming a second-set letdown to oust Daniel Vacek 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2.
Former World No. 1 Carlos Moya made a solid return to the sport after a back problem, playing and winning his first match of the season over Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina 7-5, 7-5.
Agassi’s opponent in the next round, veteran Francisco Clavet defeated Fernando Meligeni of Brazil, 6-0, 6-3 while Romania’s Andre Pavel overcame Spain’s Alex Calatrava 6-3, 6-4.
South African Wayne Ferreira, who had to qualify into the field, moved ahead against Sjeng Schalken of Holland 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4.
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