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TENNIS Agassi in pursuit of No 1


A final four worthy of a Grand Slam emerged as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg advanced to the semi-finals of the Newsweek Champions' Cup at Indian Wells, California, on Saturday.

Sampras, the top seed and defending champion, and the second-seeded Agassi, who has designs on Sampras' world No1 ranking, scored quick, straight- set wins and are on course to meet in this evening's final. In the semi- finals, Sampras was to play Edberg while Agassi faced Becker.

Sampras outplayed eighth-seeded fellow-American Todd Martin 6-3, 6-4 in 78 minutes while Agassi was four minutes quicker in beating Wayne Ferreira, of South Africa, 6-3 6-4.

The third seed, Becker, and Edberg, seeded 11th, both recovered after losing their first set. Becker, buoyed by 10 aces, overcame the tenacious baseliner Magnus Larsson, of Sweden, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Edberg also relied on his powerful first serve to overhaul Thomas Muster, of Austria, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a rain-interrupted match.

If Agassi were to win this tournament and the forthcoming Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, he could take over as world No 1.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 28