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Old 11-13-2005, 02:21 AM   #1
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Default Nadal looks forward to encounter with Agassi

Nadal looks forward to encounter with Agassi
Zhou Zuyi
2005-11-12 Beijing Time

RAFAEL Nadal and Andre Agassi will engage in a battle of skill and determination at the upcoming Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai and both anticipate the match to be a memorable moment in their respective careers.

The second-ranked Nadal is the youngest player in the elite field at 19. Agassi, 35, meanwhile is the oldest and makes his 14th appearance in the year-end finale. Its Nadal's first Masters appearance.

Nadal said he looks forward to the encounter. "Yes, that could be a highly interesting game ... I usually focus on my game and don't care too much about who I am playing, but Agassi is really special," said Nadal, through an interpreter. " He is a historical figure for the sport by any standard.

"Yet when I take to the court, I will tell myself to forget about his age, his track record and the miracles he has achieved."

American Agassi is dubbed a tennis legend with eight Grand Slam trophies in a career that spans more than two decades. In contrast, Spain's Nadal turned pro just four years ago and celebrated his first major victory at the French Open in May.

With Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt already out of the tournament, Agassi and Nadal are serious contenders to the seemingly invincible world No. 1 Roger Federer.

But with them both drawn in the Gold Group — along with Nikolay Davydenko and Gaston Gaudio — they will face each other before either gets a shot at Federer.

The clash between the two could decide the group winner, and likely who avoids Federer in the semis.

Nadal and Agassi met only once before — at the Montreal Masters final in Canada this August.

"We brought a variety of shots for that match," Agassi said yesterday, who conceded the title on that occasion in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 defeat. "He was physical and competitive, forcing me to perform to my limit right from the start ... Rafael is definitely one of the reasons I have come here."

The tournament opens with Federer vs. Nalbandian and Coria vs. Ljubicic tomorrow afternoon

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