Agassi reaches Paris Masters quarterfinals

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Second-seed Andre Agassi beats Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Second-seed Andre Agassi came from behind to beat Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3 Thursday and reach the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters. Johansson served 16 aces in their first set, but tired in the final two and conceded defeat by sending his last backhand wide. Agassi, 32, is trying to overtake Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt for the world No. 1 spot. But he wasn't worrying about their rivalry during the Johansson match. "It's hard to think about that when I've got to deal with somebody who serves 16 aces in one set," he said. "So I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. But I'm always trying to be No. 1 when I'm on the court." Agassi will play Spaniard Carlos Moya in the quarters. Moya survived six match points before beating titleholder Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 7-6 (10), 6-1. American Andy Roddick also advanced after beating Romania's Andrei Pavel 7-6 (5), 6-4. Roddick next plays Thai sensation Paradorn Srichaphan, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Guillermo Canas. Earlier, Hewitt defeated Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-2, 7-6 (3). The top-seeded Australian sealed the win with an ace on his first match point. He next faces Switzerland's Roger Federer, who beat Tommy Haas of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (2). Agassi trails Hewitt by just 43 points in the ATP Champions Race and could become No. 1 if he outperforms him in Paris. Both players can also win points in next month's season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai, China. Hewitt said he wasn't thinking about Agassi's progress in Paris. "I've just got to take care of business on my side," Hewitt said. Hewitt breezed through the first set but had to hold off Kafelnikov in the second. Kafelnikov took a 5-4 lead, but his momentum was short-lived when Hewitt tied it at 6. In the tiebreaker, Kafelnikov double-faulted twice and Hewitt set up match point with a forehand winner down the line. Third-seeded Marat Safin eliminated Dutch rival Sjeng Schalken 7-5, 7-5 to set up a quarterfinal clash against Nicolas Escude, a possible Davis Cup foe when Russia meets France in the final next month. Escude advanced by beating Tim Henman 6-4, 6-2, ensuring the British player was out of the running for Shanghai. Haas also missed a chance to play in the elite eight-man event. Henman's loss ensured that world No. 4 Juan Carlos Ferrero will go to the Cup. Federer also qualified for the event on Thursday, along with French Open champion Albert Costa. Hewitt, Agassi and Safin already were assured a spot. (AP)

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