Agassi gets tough draw for US Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Andre Agassi's final US Open shapes up as a tough one thanks to a draw on Wednesday that includes a potential second-round match against Marcos Baghdatis.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Andre Agassi's final US Open shapes up as a tough one thanks to a draw on Wednesday that includes a potential second-round match against Marcos Baghdatis and possible fourth-round showdown against Andy Roddick. The 36-year-old Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam champion who's said he'll retire after the US Open, will face Andrei Pavel of Romania in the first round. Pavel is a former top 20 player currently ranked 76th; Agassi has won five of their six previous matches. If Agassi gets past that, he could face the eighth-seeded Baghdatis, a 21-year-old from Cyprus who was the runner-up at this year's Australian Open and a semifinalist at Wimbledon. Two rounds later might bring another intergenerational clash against Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion and former No. 1 who's seeded ninth. Hampered by a bad back, Agassi is 8-7 in 2006, never going beyond the quarterfinals at any event, and he withdrew from two tournaments this month. That's dropped his ranking to 37th, which is why he's unseeded a year after reaching the final. Rough draw for Serena Another past US Open champion and No. 1 player who's unseeded this year, Serena Williams, also was given a rough draw in the ceremony at UN headquarters. She fell out of the top 100 while sidelined with a left knee injury and needed a wild card to enter the tournament. Her possible second-round opponent is No. 17 Daniela Hantuchova, who knocked off Williams in the Australian Open's third round in January. If Williams reaches the third round, she could face No. 16 Ana Ivanovic, who won last week's US Open warmup at Montreal and leads the US Open Series standings. And should Williams get to the fourth round, her opponent could be No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion. Williams' older sister Venus, the 2000-01 U.S. Open winner, wound up on the opposite half of the draw and appears to be in a relatively easy quarter. Possible quarterfinal lineup On paper, the women's quarterfinals could be Mauresmo vs. No. 8 Martina Hingis (the 1997 champion), No. 3 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 5 Nadia Petrova, No. 2 Justine Henin-Hardenne (the 2003 champion) vs. No. 7 Patty Schnyder, and No. 4 Elena Dementieva vs. No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova, in what would be a rematch of the 2004 final, won by Kuznetsova. The potential men's quarterfinals would be: No. 1 Roger Federer vs. No. 5 James Blake, No. 4 David Nalbandian vs. No. 7 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 2 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 6 Tommy Robredo, and Baghdatis vs. No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic. Federer, the two-time defending champion, starts off against Wang Yeu-tzuoo of Taiwan, then would meet the winner of an all-British first-round matchup between Tim Henman and 1997 US Open runner-up Greg Rusedski. Nadal's opener could be more interesting: He drew wild card Mark Philippoussis, the two-time major finalist with a big serve whose career has been derailed by injuries. (AP)

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