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Agassi demolishes Ferreira

January 23, 2003 18:01 IST

Employing a tried and tested system, Andre Agassi beat South Africa's Wayne Ferreira for the 11th straight time to reach his fourth Australian Open final on Thursday.

The 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 scoreline leaves Ferreira with just a single set in all those meetings.

Both men are playing their 50th grand slam event and it was the first time since tennis turned professional in 1968 that two thirtysomething men contested a semi-final here.

But those footnotes proved to be the most noteworthy aspects of an 87-minute match in which there was always only going to be one winner.

Agassi was two sets up in less than an hour as the unseeded Ferreira was swamped on Rod Laver Arena from the very start. He simply went through the motions in the third set as Agassi wrapped things up.

Agassi, looking to become the first overseas player to win four Australian Open titles, and fourth overall, will face either fellow-American Andy Roddick or Germany's Rainer Schuettler in Sunday's championship decider.

"I work hard to make it look that way, I promise you that," Agassi said when asked how he had made it look so easy.

"I was hitting the ball cleanly and taking control of the points. I can not have any complaints."


Agassi will now have two days off as the other semi-final

will be played on Friday night.

Having had to play just 17 complete sets -- out of a possible 30 -- to get to the final he hardly needs the rest but plans to make the most of it.

"I am just going to take a couple of days off now, enjoy myself, enjoy being with my son and then come out here and let it all hang out," he smiled before signing autographs for fans courtside.

On every other occasion the pair have met, Agassi had targeted the 31-year-old's backhand.

It has been a ploy that has paid rich dividends and, under floodlights on centre court, Agassi went for it once again.

"Yeah, he has a certain game that brings out the worst in me," Ferreira said, who beat fourth seed Juan Carlos Ferrero in the quarter-finals.

He can rarely have spoken more truth.

The South African was kept guessing by the American's serve and given no pace on his groundstrokes.

His own serve deteriorated, only getting his first delivery in a little over half of the time and he hit 28 unforced errors as the hole he was in deepened.

When Agassi thumped a forehand drive volley away, his 32nd clear winner of the match, to seal the match it would have come as something of a relief for Ferreira.

Ossian Shine
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