Agassi is dispatched by Courier

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Jim Courier pulled off a surprisingly brutal defeat of the new world No 1, Andre Agassi, to win the Japan Open title in Tokyo yesterday. Agassi, playing in his first tournament since taking the top ranking a week ago, was crushed 6-3, 6-4 by his fellow American in just 76 minutes.

Both players felt the blustery conditions on the stadium hardcourt made it difficult to play their best tennis. "I didn't play great today by any means. Partly because of my back, the windy conditions, and Jim - the way he's playing," Agassi said. Agassi has been suffering from a lower back strain which struck during a Davis Cup match two weeks ago. It had forced him to withdraw from this week's Salem Open in Hong Kong.

The match was decided by the serve. Fourth-seeded Courier, a former world No 1 and the winner here in 1992, unleashed a relentless barrage of blistering first-service winners and dotted his baseline game with canny deceptive lobs and drop shots.

Agassi said he was let down by his first serve. He only won 57 per cent of points off it, compared with 78 per cent for Courier. "I'm happy with today's performance and I'm going to savour it because it's been a while since I've had such a week," Courier said.