Tennis: Americans hail their new world No 1

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The Independent Online
SUPER SATURDAY at the United States Open not only guaranteed the Americans a sweep of the singles titles, as at Wimbledon two months ago, but gave them an opportunity to hail Andre Agassi's return as the world No 1 in place of the injured Pete Sampras.

Win or lose in last night's final against his compatriot Todd Martin, Agassi's semi-final victory meant that he, rather than Yevgeny Kafelnikov, would rise to the top this morning.

Agassi recovered after a dreadful start to overwhelm Kafelnikov, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, hitting 11 aces in the process. The more ground Agassi gained, the more his Russian opponent appeared to be disappearing into a hole.

Kafelnikov, who was unable to take his chance to rise to No 1 at the Battersea tournament in February, later complained at the criticism which greeted his elevation to the top after six consecutive opening-round defeats, a quirk of the ATP Tour rankings system.

"The season isn't over yet," the third-seeded Kafelnikov said. "I have still six, seven tournaments to play. Maybe I'll take my chances there."

Martin looked eager in dismantling the unseeded Cedric Pioline, of France, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. "Todd was reading the ball very well today," Pioline said. "He was catching everything, making few unforced errors, serving big, playing much better than me."

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