US OPEN 2005: Agassi overcomes Blake in thriller

New York, September 8:

Andre Agassi, 35 years young, took a pounding for two sets from James Blake, pounced on him for two more, then survived a tiebreaker in a wondrous five-set drama reminiscent of Jimmy Connors’ legendary run to the US Open semi-finals at 39.

Rendered heltless at the start by Blake’s dazzling speed and precision, Agassi asserted himself against his fellow American in the third set, turned the match around and looked fresher at the end of a 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 triumph that put him in the semiw -two wins from capturing the title he won in 1994 and ‘99.

Awaiting Agassi on Saturday will be American Davis Cup teammate Robby Ginepri, an unsung, unseeded 22-year-old who reached his first major semi-final. Ginepri gutted his way out of trouble and got the gift of Guillermo Coria’s 13th and 14th double-faults on the last two points to win his third straight five-setter against a seeded player, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, and guarantee that an American will play in the final.

Lindsay Davenport, the 1998 champ, got thumped in the first set by last year’s finalist, sixth-seeded Elena Dementieva, and lost the match 6-1, 3-6, 7-6. Dementieva overcame 12 double-faults and had 43 unforced errors to Davenport’s 56. Dementieva will play Mary Pierce, the 2000 French Open and 1995 Australian winner who advanced to her first US Open semis by beating fellow French Amelie Mauresmo 6-4, 6-1.