Agassi marches on

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The Independent Online
TENNIS

Andre Agassi, the top seed, cruised into the semi-finals of the Japan Open yesterday, but the second-seeded Michael Chang booked his place in the last four only after surviving a match point against him.

Agassi outclassed the Australian qualifier, Scott Draper, 6-4, 6-3 in 73 minutes. In today's semi-finals, he will face Wayne Ferriera of South Africa, who had a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory over Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden.

Chang was given a much tougher test by another Swede, Jan Apell, eventually winning 4-6, 7-6, 6-3. He now meets Jim Courier, who completed a bad day for Sweden with a 7-6, 6-0 victory over Thomas Enqvist.

Agassi, who took over as the world No 1 for the first time on Monday, was too strong for Draper, who looked as if he might make a fight of it in the second set, when he led 3-2, before Agassi won four successive games after breaking Draper's serve.

Chang was in trouble as Apell took the first set, then reached match point with an ace at 6-5 in the tie-break in the second. However, the unseeded Swede sent a backhand return into the net, and Chang finally took the tie-break 9-7 to square the match. He broke Apell's opening service game in the third set with a forehand passing shot, and served out for the match.

In the women's event, the holder and top seed, Kimiko Date of Japan, took only 48 minutes to beat her compatriot, Nana Miyagi, 6-1, 6-2 in the semi-final. The other semi-final, between the American, Amy Frazier, and Tang Min of Hong Kong, will be played today.

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