Agassi, Capriati gain Open quarters

Monday, September 3, 2001

AP Sports WriterNEW YORK (AP) -- Two-time champion Andre Agassi charged into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Monday, battering Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

Also advancing to the quarters for the first time in 10 years was Jennifer Capriati, who continued her straight-sets march with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 19 Barbara Schett.

Federer, who stunned Pete Sampras at Wimbledon, never threatened. Agassi sailed through the first two sets in 48 minutes and quickly put aside any thoughts of an upset by the 13th-seeded Swiss.

Agassi, winner of the Open in 1994 and 1999, converted five of six break opportunities and was never broken in nine chances by Federer.

Next for him will be the winner of Monday's match between Sampras and Patrick Rafter. Both Sampras, seeded No. 10, and Rafter, No. 6, went into their showdown without dropping a set in their first three matches.

Capriati, winner of this year's Australian and French opens, took advantage of 33 unforced errors by Schett.

Schett, who beat Venus Williams at the French, had plenty of opportunities. But she failed to convert her first nine break chances, six in the first set, and Capriati, seeded No. 2, took advantage. Capriati won seven straight games, the last three of the first set and the first four of the second, to take control.

Trailing 5-2 in the second set, Schett fought off two match points and finally broke. But by then it was hardly enough. Capriati broke right back, winning the match on a double fault by Schett.

Capriati, enjoying one of the best comebacks in sports this year, was the youngest semifinalist in U.S. Open and Wimbledon history at age 15 in 1991.

Her career plummeted two years later, and in five U.S. Opens since returning to the tour in 1996 she had never advanced beyond the fourth round.

Capriati next plays the winner of Monday's match between No. 8 Amelie Mauresmo and No. 9 Nathalie Tauziat.

Also advancing to the quarters was No. 5 Kim Clijsters, who outlasted No. 11 Elena Dementieva 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. Clijsters, who lost a marathon three-setter to Capriati in the finals of the French, faces the winner of Monday night's match between No. 4 Venus Williams and No. 18 Sandrine Testud.

Two other quarterfinal matchups were set Sunday. Top-ranked Martina Hingis will meet 18-year-old Daja Bedanova for the first time and Lindsay Davenport goes against Serena Williams again. Williams has won six of eight meetings with Davenport but lost to her in the Open quarters a year ago.

Hingis, seeded No. 1, shook off a slow start to defeat No. 14 Jelena Dokic 6-4, 6-0. Earlier, Bedanova eliminated two-time Open champion Monica Seles 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Hingis, a loser in successive weeks to Seles last month, had to welcome Bedanova's upset because it removed a troublesome opponent from her path. For Seles, seeded No. 7, it was the earliest exit from this event since she won titles in 1991 and 1992.

Davenport had a tough time, too, dodging an upset by defeating Elena Likhovtseva 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.

Next for Davenport is No. 10 Williams, the 1999 champion, who cruised past No. 6 Justine Henin 7-5, 6-0.

On the men's side, top-seeded Gustavo Kuerten rallied to beat big-serving Belarussian Max Mirnyi 6-7 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-2. Thousands of noisy fans -- a few waving Brazilian flags -- stayed until the finish at 12:17 a.m.

"That was a great win," Kuerten said. "All the sets were decided by very little. We both played a great match and one had to win, so I was lucky it was me."

Also advancing Sunday were No. 4 Lleyton Hewitt, No. 7 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, No. 12 Arnaud Clement, No. 16 Tommy Haas, No. 18 Andy Roddick, Albert Costa and Tommy Robredo.

Robredo defeated fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (1). Ferrero, at No. 5, is the highest-seeded player ousted in the tournament so far.

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