Top seeds Agassi and Sampras advance

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In nine matches, Wayne Ferreira has never beaten Andre Agassi.

In nine matches, Wayne Ferreira has never beaten Andre Agassi.

All the South African could do was express his frustration after Agassi beat him again on Tuesday night, 7-5 (4), 6-1, in the first round at Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati.

"It's kind of a laughable situation," Ferreira said. "I seem to do the same thing every time I play him, no matter how hard I try to make it different. It always ends up being the same, so all I can do is keep laughing."

After pressing the top-seeded Agassi to a tiebreaker, Ferreira missed a shot into an open court in the first game of the second set and never recovered.

"I think after I won the tiebreaker, maybe he just had a little bit of a letdown and I took advantage of it," Agassi said. "Sometimes it doesn't take much."

Second-seeded Pete Sampras won the only first-round match he's had to play here in a decade. When the tournament was called the ATP Championship, the top eight seeds drew byes. With the new Masters Series format and the draw expanded to 64 players, everybody plays in the first round.

Sampras beat Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday.

"I've never been crazy about a bye because you're playing someone (in the second round) who's used to the court and the balls," Sampras said.

"Your first match out playing someone that's played, I never really liked it. You like it if you win the match. Your body's a little bit fresher."

And Sampras is at the point in his career when he wants to limit his tournaments to stay as fresh as possible.

Sampras won a record 13th Grand Slam at Wimbledon despite tendinitis in his left shin, then withdrew from the Davis Cup. This is his second tournament since then, including a loss in the quarterfinals last week at Toronto.

The tournament lost four more seeds on Tuesday - six of 16 in the first round - including one who withdrew.

Rain delayed the start of the morning matches for two hours, and there was another five-minute rain interruption in the afternoon.

During the first delay and before his match started, 14th-seeded Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco withdrew with inflammation in his left foot. He was replaced by qualifier Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy, who went out and upset Albert Costa of Spain 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Sixth-seeded Alex Corretja of Spain, who had an 11-match winning streak, was upset by Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden 6-4, 6-4.

Corretja, who is more comfortable on clay courts, found it difficult to adjust to the hard-court surface.

"As a European, I try to play the first tournament that I can on hard court, but I had to stay in Spain and play in the Davis Cup, so I was on clay a little longer," said Corretja, who hadn't played on a hard-court surface since March.

He was coming off title victories at Gstaad and Kitzbuhel, both on clay, and said he was unable to adjust his rhythm to the faster surface.

"He was moving better, and his ideas were more clarified," Corretja said of Bjorkman. "He had a better idea of what he wanted to do, while I was staying back and waiting for him to make mistakes."

Fabrice Santoro of France upset ninth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, and Todd Martin beat 11th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer of Germany 6-2, 6-2.

Fifth-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia beat Richard Krajicek of Netherlands 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; No. 7 Thomas Enqvist of Sweden beat Andrei Pavel of Romania 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7); No. 8 Marat Safin of Russia, the winner last week at Tennis Masters Series-Canada, beat Neville Godwin of South Africa 7-5, 6-3; and No. 15 Tim Henman of Britain beat Cecil Mamit 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

In other first-round matches, Gianluca Pozzi of Italy - at 35 the oldest player in the field - beat Andy Roddick - the youngest at 17 - 7-6 (3), 6-1; Martin Damm of the Czech Republic beat Vincent Spadea 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2; and Harel Levy of Israel, a finalist last week at Toronto, beat Andrew Ilie of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; and Taylor Dent beat U.S. Olympian Jeff Tarango 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Results from the $2.95 million Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati ATP Tour hard-court tournament:

Singles - First Round

Mariano Puerta (Arg) def. Vladimir Voltchkov (Bela) 6-3, 6-1 Jonas Bjorkman (Swe) def. Alex Corretja (6) (Sp) 6-4, 6-4. Taylor Dent (US) def. Jeff Tarango (US) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Andrea Gaudenzi (It) def. Albert Costa (Sp) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. (15) Tim Henman (GB) def. Cecil Mamit (US) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. (2) Pete Sampras (US) def. Mariano Zabaleta (Arg) 6-4, 6-2. Fernando Vicente (Sp) def. Bob Bryan (US) 7-6 (4), 6-3. Jiri Novak (Cze) def. Lionel Roux (Fr) 6-1, 6-0. Max Mirnyi (Bela) def. Andreas Vinciguerra (Swe) 7-6 (1), 6-4. Todd Martin (US) def. Nicolas Kiefer (Ger) 6-2, 6-2. Fabrice Santoro (Fr) def. (9) Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Martin Damm (Cze) def. Vincent Spadea (US) 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2. (1) Andre Agassi (US) def. Wayne Ferreira (SA) 7-6 (4), 6-1. (8) Marat Safin (Rus) def. Neville Godwin (SA) 7-5, 6-3. Gianluca Pozzi (It) def. Andy Roddick (US) 7-6 (3), 6-1. Thomas Enqvist (Swe) def. Andrei Pavel (Rom) 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7). Harel Levy (Isr) def. Andrew Ilie (Aus) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Rus) def. Richard Krajicek (Neth) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

Doubles - First Round

Roger Federer (Swit) and Andrew Kratzmann (Aus) def. Patrick Galbraith and Brian MacPhie (US) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

(3) Ellis Ferreira (SA) and Rick Leach (US) def. Donald Johnson (US) and Piet Norval (SA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Thomas Johansson and Magnus Norman (Swe) def, Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind) and Mark Knowles (Bah) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Gustave Kuerten (Bra) and Chris Woodruff (US) def. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (US) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

(5) Jiri Novak and David Riki (Cze) def. Andrea Gaudenzi (It) and Marc Rosset (Swit) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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