Tennis: Rios rises to dispense with Agassi

IT IS called trauma hot cream, and after seeing what it did for Marcelo Rios's back yesterday your correspondent recommends readers to stock it in bulk for their old age. The Chilean left-hander triumphed against Andre Agassi to win the Compaq Grand Slam Cup and $1.3m (pounds 812,000).

Rios seemed on the point of retiring after taking an injury time out only five games into the final, but persevered, with a wince here, a grimace there, and prevailed, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3, after two hours and 55 minutes.

Between back spasms, the 23-year-old world No 3 from Santiago treated the spectators to some spectacular action. On the concluding point of the opening set he sprinted to deliver a forehand winner down the line, his momentum causing him to leap the perimenter boards. During the sixth game of the second set, Rios hit a winning smash from a sitting position before falling on his back. Once or twice, he kicked the ball in a style that would have been a credit to David Beckham.

Agassi, asked by a German television presenter what is was like playing against a handicapped opponent, replied that if that was the case he would not like to face a healthy Rios. "He ran his ass off," Agassi said.

The American himself was not as fresh as he would have liked, having spent three hours and 40 minutes the previous afternoon winning his semi- final against Karol Kucera, of Slovakia, in five sets.

Agassi, whose entry on a wild card was criticised, rose to the occasion, blowing away the Frenchman, Cedric Pioline, in 34 minutes in his first match, 6-0, 6-0, and thrilling the crowd in the epics against Kucera and Rios. "I'm playing aggressive tennis again," said the 28-year-old Agassi, who won $650,000. "That's the key to my game, taking it to my opponent and not waiting for them to miss. This week I really started feeling like I can be the best again."

The match went through a strange passage after the opening set when both players appeared to be trying to conserve energy. "I can't speak for Marcelo," Agassi said. "He has a tendency to kind of look a little lethargic at times, but more out of attitude than out of self-preservation. I didn't really believe he was close to defaulting. I try to base it on his performance rather than what he's doing on the side of the court. I knew the best chance I had was just to go hard. If it turned out that we had a long match, just do my best not to die. I tried to go hard from start to finish.

"I definitely was a little off physically, but I was committed to trying to get the job done. As the match wore on, I wasn't going for my serve as well as I'd like. That hurt me in the fifth set.

"When I got up in the second set, he looked like he idled down a gear. But I knew that was only going to last as long as the set, that he would stir it up again in the third, which he did."

After recovering a break of serve for 3-2 in the final set, Rios had the good fortune on game point for 4-2 to see a ball hit by Agassi teeter on the net cord before dropping wide.

Rios said he started to feel twinges in his back the previous night and twice thought that he would not finish the match. "I had this before, it's like the nerve or the muscles get inflamed. I think Andre says, `This guy isn't injured'. I think I'm the only one that knows what's going on. At one stage when I was going to retire, the trainer said, `No, let's give it one more try'. I won a lot of confidence in the tie-break [7-1]. Even if I was not feeling good, I played one of my best matches. I'm really proud I can win a match like that."

Try trauma hot cream, but do not expect miracles. "The magic's in the fingers," said Alex Stober, the trainer, who paid six visits to Rios during the changeovers.

Venus Williams received $800,000 as the inaugural winner of the women's event. The American defeated another 18-year-old, Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, after an entertaining final which lasted 94 minutes.

In common with Rios, Williams said she would put the money in the bank. "I have to pay taxes, too, you know," she said. "It's not all mine."

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull
football
Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
film
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit