Agassi struggles through

Top-seeded Andre Agassi, struggling to adjust after an emotional Davis Cup victory, still managed to defeat qualifier Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-4 Tuesday night in the first round of the Galleryfurniture.com Tennis Challenge.

Agassi seemed to be in control after winning the first four games, only to have the 19-year-old from Belgium battle back to 4-5 in the second set by breaking Agassi's serve at love.

But the world's top player was in no mood for an extended match. He had two singles victories last weekend, helping the United States beat the Czech Republic in a Davis Cup tie at Inglewood, California, then flew across the country to compete in the low-profile event in suburban Atlanta.

In the clinching game, Agassi got to 30-30 with a powerful forehand winner and closed the match with another forehand into the corner, forcing Malisse to return long.

"He hung in there," Agassi said. "My mindset was to keep getting better and just hope to finish it off" in the second set.

He conceded it was hard to get in the proper frame of mind for the dlrs 350,000 clay-court event at the Atlanta Athletic Club, especially after playing the Davis Court indoors on a hardcourt surface.

"I didn't feel like things were too clean," Agassi said. "It was definitely an adjustment coming here, but this is a good first step."

He was playing in Atlanta for the first time since 1997, when he lost to Sweden's Magnus Norman in the second round and wound up spiraling to No. 122 in the world.

"That was just a different life," Agassi said. "I don't even recognize it."

Malisse, ranked No. 111 on the ATP Tour, had to win three qualifying matches just to get into the tournament. He showed an impressive repertoire of shots but couldn't match Agassi's consistency.

"He doesn't miss anything," said Malisse, whose girlfriend, Jennifer Capriati, watched from the stands. "It's like playing against a ball machine."

Agassi, playing Malisse for the first time, criticized his opponent's approach to the match.

"He seems to have talent, but I don't think he was focused enough," Agassi said. "He seemed very casual. I think he can be a lot better than he is. There's a lot more to the game than being able to hit shots."

Agassi was one of four seeded players who breezed into the second round Tuesday. No. 2 Stefan Koubek of Austria, the defending champion, got by Argentina's Frederico Browne 7-5, 6-0; No. 3 Magnus Larsson of Sweden defeated Norway's Christian Ruud 6-1, 6-4; and No. 6 Sargis Sargsian of Armenia routed American Eric Taino 6-0, 6-2.

Results from the $350,000 Galleryfurniture.com Tennis Challenge in Duluth Georgia:

Singles First Round

(1) Andre Agassi (US) def. Xavier Malisse (Bel) 6-3, 6-4. (6)Sargis Sargsian (Arm) def. Eric Taino (US) 6-0, 6-2. (3) Magnus Larrson (Swe) def. Christian Ruud (Nor) 6-1, 6-4. (2) Stefan Koubek (Aut) def. Frederico Browne (Arg) 7-5, 6-0. Michal Tabara (Cz Rep) def. Magnus Gustafsson (Swe) 6-2, 6-1. Nicolas Massu (Chile) def. James Sekulov (Aus) 6-4, 6-1. Jiri Vanek (Cz Rep) def. Justin Gimelstob (US) 7-5, 6-4. Todd Woddbridge (Aus) def. Ronald Agenor (Haiti) 7-6 (3), 6-4.

---

Doubles First Round

Patrick Galbraith and Brian MacPhie (US) def. Jonathan Stark and Jeff Tarango (US) 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Julian Alonso (Sp) and Hugo Armando (US) def. Paul Goldstein and Chris Woodruff (US) 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones