Chocolate cake for Agassi after 50th Tour title

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The Independent Online

Andre Agassi collected the 50th ATP title of his career with a victory over Juan Balcells in the Franklin Templeton Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Las Vegan beat the Spaniard 6-2, 7-6.

One of only five men to win all four Grand Slams, Agassi became the eighth in the Open era to clock up his half-century. The 31-year-old joins Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Vilas and Ilie Nastase. Among active players, he trails only Sampras, who has 63 title victories.

"It kind of hits you," Agassi said. "You know, how long you've been out here and how many times you've had the privilege of standing there on the last day holding a trophy."

After handing the trophy to his father, Mike, Agassi said. "He helped develop me at an age that was very crucial. And he loves the game of tennis more than anybody I know."

Agassi, who was also presented with a chocolate cake to mark the milestone victory, relied on his punishing ground stokes during the match that took 75 minutes.

In the second set, he led 5-4 and held two match points, but Balcells forced the tie-break. After Agassi took a 4-2 lead, Balcells asked for an injury time-out to have his left quadricep muscle strapped. When play resumed, Agassi hit a backhand service return pass for 5-2, sent down a 109mph ace to set up match point, and drilled another backhand crosscourt pass to close out the victory.

In Florida, Davide Sanguinetti took Andy Roddick by surprise, prevailing 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to win the Delray Beach International Championship and become the first player to take two ATP titles this year.

In California, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin eased into the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters, but Jelena Dokic's comeback from injury stalled with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat to Anne Kremer.

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