Agassi inches close to No.1 rank

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

Andre Agassi breezed past his third straight opponent at the US Men's Claycourt Championships on Friday, and moved within one victory of becoming the oldest men

Agassi inches close to No.1 rank

Houston:

Andre Agassi breezed past his third straight opponent at the US Men's Claycourt Championships on Friday, and moved within one victory of becoming the oldest men's player to be ranked No. 1 in the world. "To be No. 1 is a reflection of playing the best tennis over a 52-week period, and it's not easy," Agassi said. "It's a result of not just playing well but playing well often. I always want to prove it every time I'm on the court a€" prove I'm the best every time regardless of what you're ranked". Agassi needed only 43 minutes to subdue Ricardo Mello of Brazil 6-0, 6-1 to reach the semifinals. Jurgen Melzer of Austria defeated American Mardy Fish 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 late on Friday night and will meet Agassi in the semifinals. A victory in the semifinals would give Agassi enough points to surpass Lleyton Hewitt for the top ranking in the world. Agassi, who will turn 33 on Tuesday, would surpass Jimmy Connors as the oldest player to rank No. 1. Connors was No. 1 on June 13, 1983, at 30 years, 10 months. Agassi looks at possibly being the oldest No. 1 as a milestone. "Yeah, I guess it would be nice but I don't stop to think about it too much," Agassi said. "Being No. 1 is the result of so much focus and determination every time you're on the court. That's what's gotten me here". Hewitt has been ranked No. 1 for 75 straight weeks. He has a 16-2 match record this year, but did not play this week. Agassi has been ranked No. 1 in the world for 87 weeks during his career. He was last ranked No. 1 on Sept. 10, 2000, before losing out to Pete Sampras, who has the record for weeks ranked at the top with 286. Agassi is 21-1 in matches this year with three tournament victories, including the Australian Open in January. His only loss was against Thomas Enqvist in the first round at Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 3. In an earlier quarterfinal match, Olivier Mutis of France upset third-seeded American James Blake 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 to reach his first major semifinal. (AP)

Topics : Tennis
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