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Agassi, Sharapova steal the show

March 15, 2005 15:10 IST

Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova stole the show on center court with impressive victories over Dinara Safina and Andrei Pavel in the third round of the Pacific Life Open on Monday

Third seed Sharapova beat her compatriot 6-2, 6-3 and former title holder Agassi dispatched Romanian Pavel 6-3, 6-4.

The two former Wimbledon champions benefited from a drop in strong winds that had upset earlier competitors.

"After the points went a little longer, then the wind died down, I thought I was more consistent. I was able to hit one more ball in," Sharapova said.

Third seed Andy Roddick encountered few problems in crushing 26th seed Jiri Novak 6-1, 6-2, but it was the 34-year-old Agassi who had the crowd on their feet during the night session by displaying a basket full of shots.

"He plays the whole court pretty well and has good savvy out there," said Agassi, who will face fifth seed Guillermo Coria in the fourth round. "I needed to be executing my shots, controlling the terms and I knew it would be toe to toe. If I played my game, I could

come out on top. It's nice to feel that."

Briton Tim Henman overcame swirling winds to defeat Austria's Juergen Melzer 7-5, 6-4 and women's top seed Lindsay Davenport also advanced, wearing down compatriot Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Sixth seed Henman and Melzer found it difficult to maintain any rhythm in the blustery conditions.

"It was a real struggle today," said last year's losing finalist.

"It was a question as to who would get frustrated first. In those types of conditions it's very difficult to play without mistakes or without your opponent having opportunities.

"You have to accept that it will be ugly at times and find a way through it."

Henman will play 12th seed Tommy Robredo of Spain, a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 winner over Sweden's Thomas Enqvist.

Davenport and Shaughnessy also contested a scrappy affair, hitting 51 unforced errors between them.

Frenchwoman Mary Pierce ended the run of 15-year-old Czech Nicole Vaidisova 6-4, 6-4.

Matthew Cronin
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