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Day 8 - Andre Agassi (USA) [7] vs. Xavier Malisse (Bel)

Andre Agassi USA
X.Malisse



Seemingly well on his way toward a short day of work, leading 6-3, 6-4 after the first two sets, Malisse stormed back in the third-set tie-break, giving Agassi all that he could handle. “The standard that Malisse played in the third and fourth was really high,” said Agassi. “I needed to answer that. I did in the fifth.” Almost conceding the fourth set, Agassi unleashed his reserve tank and exploded in the fifth set, closing out the match with a pair of breaks. Just as everyone was writing his eulogy, the X-Man decided that he wasn’t quite ready to call it a tournament, extending the two-time US Open champion to a nail-biting five sets. “If he's been unpredictable, he's answered that question this tournament. He's knuckled down and gotten the job done,” said Agassi about the 25-year-old..



Appearing weary in the fourth set, Agassi dug deep and summoned a second wind that buoyed him to the win. The biggest break of the match, Agassi penetrated the Malisse serve at 2-1 in the fifth. Converting on the second break point of the game, Agassi hit a vintage backhand winner that got him to 3-1. A game later, Agassi extended the lead to 4-1, closing out the match in style with another break of serve. Out of it for the first two sets and in grave danger of a straight-sets defeat, spraying unforced errors and at the mercy of Agassi, the X-Man sprung to life. Giving the capacity crowd more tennis than it had expected, Malisse extended the match by winning the third-set tie-break and carried that momentum through to the fourth.



The legend today passed the great Jimmy Connors as the oldest player to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open. At 35 years, 135 days by the time the Open ends, Agassi’s fitness rivals the very best of the teenagers and 20-somethings whom he plays against daily. Keeping him in the match when things were looking grim, the X-Man slammed 26 aces past Agassi, arguably the best returner in the history of the game. The Belgian came in on many of those serves, converting on 22 of 33 (67 percent) net approaches.



The two-time US Open champion reaches the quarterfinals of New York for the fifth time in a row. Hard to overlook a possible dream match-up in the making, if James Blake can defeat Tommy Robredo on Monday, Agassi would meet his fellow American in primetime Wednesday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Talk about a hard ticket to get your hands on. All things considered a solid result for the pony-tailed Belgian. His come-from-behind, third-round win over No. 24 Mikhail Youzhny after being two sets down was something to build on. Having played a forgettable match, if Malisse can take a page from the Agassi work ethic, he still has time to turn around his career and take it to the next level.



To no one’s surprise, the jam-packed Labor Day crowd was out in full support for Agassi, one of the most popular tennis players of all time. Meanwhile, back in the players’ dining room, James Blake and his “J Block” were enjoying a pre-match meal before his late-afternoon fourth-rounder against Tommy Robredo. His first match of the tournament inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on a sun-splashed, blue-skied New York afternoon, at least the scenic view was a welcome sight for Malisse… Except for Agassi staring him down on the other side of the net, of course.
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:wavey: Andre Agassi forever :wavey:
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

1. Andre is lunging at every semi-decent kick-serve... I am sorry, but when you watch Federer or even Hewitt for that matter hittnig passing shot serve-returns almost at will, Agassi's return-skills are pedestrian in comparison. And I say this as a huge Agassi fan.

2. Gigan, are you a Muslim? Or are you an Armenian Christian?
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

this is only in response to the thread name not the whole post, which covered a lot more ground. but bud collins said a few weeks ago that chris evert had the best return of serve ever, and i'd have to agree. some say you cant compare mens & womens tennis on such points, but evert was the very best.
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

agassi is best because he can return offensively, rather than defensively.

if you look at his matches with pete in '95, you'll get what i mean.
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

daze11 said:
this is only in response to the thread name not the whole post, which covered a lot more ground. but bud collins said a few weeks ago that chris evert had the best return of serve ever, and i'd have to agree. some say you cant compare mens & womens tennis on such points, but evert was the very best.
like you said...cant compare mens and womens.

in recent times agassi has been the best returner for a consistent period of time. he has the quickest eyes and hands when returning serve. sadly now he is getting older and his reach is becoming more of an issue with the giants serving at him. he still returns like almost nobody else now in the game...or ever.
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

megadeth said:
agassi is best because he can return offensively, rather than defensively.

if you look at his matches with pete in '95, you'll get what i mean.

How many clean passing shots/winners does Agassi hit off a serve per game? How about serve returns that result in forced errors by an opponent? Then compare that to an average Federer or Hewitt game...

'95? That's 10 years ago, are you crazy!







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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

He used to be not anymore
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

There are several different approaches to the return game. I would say that Agassi is the best at one of those approaches.

If the ball comes into Agassi's strike zone, he is still the finest striker of an offensive yet consistent return. He can react to a serve of any speed with pinpoint timing and place the return deep with pace.

He does lack the reach and mobility of a Hewitt or a Federer, however, especially at this age, and his close positioning makes him more vulnerable to a big serve which can hit the sides or corners of the box. Agassi is not as comfortable as some others with slicing the return back from a stretched position. So it is safe to say that others get more balls back into play, albeit less aggressively.
 
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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

AgassiFan said:
How many clean passing shots/winners does Agassi hit off a serve per game? How about serve returns that result in forced errors by an opponent? Then compare that to an average Federer or Hewitt game...

'95? That's 10 years ago, are you crazy!







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well, this 'aint an argument based on the present isn't it? otherwise, why wold chris evert be brought up?

in terms of the technical execution, percentage and all that fuss aside, no one could match andre on the offensive return.
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

MisterQ said:
Agassi is not as comfortable as some others with slicing the return back from a stretched position. So it is safe to say that others get more balls back into play, albeit less aggressively.

Then why do Federer and Hewitt end up with twice or three times as many return-winners than Agassi if what you're saying is true?

I like how Andre has been using the slice backhand Steffi taught him - he even makes it into an offensive weapon when he has placement down the line or a drop shot.... Maybe it's time Andre also acquaints himself with this thing tennis players refer to as 'top spin'; it's great at creating angles and counter-punching where his usual flat power-swing may not be the best idea...


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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

AgassiFan said:
Then why do Federer and Hewitt end up with twice or three times as many return-winners than Agassi if what you're saying is true?

I like how Andre has been using the slice backhand Steffi taught him - he even makes it into an offensive weapon when he has placement down the line or a drop shot.... Maybe it's time Andre also acquants himself with this thing tennis players refer to as 'top spin'; it's great at creating angles and counter-punching where his usual flat power-swing may not be the best idea...
you dont think agassi can hit angles? interesting...

and i think his career speaks for itself without getting tips on how to hit topspin or any other kind of shot from anyone here
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

agassi uses top spin most of the time even on returns. he has this flick of the wrist that allows the ball to dip at the last minute.

agassifan, are you indeed an agassi fan? seems to me you don't know anything about agassi's technical part of the game much...

fed and hewitt has more return winners in terms of forcing an error from their opponents or setting up points. agassi, goes for broke and for clean winners on the returns...
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

federer express said:
you dont think agassi can hit angles? interesting...

He can create angles, but not enough IMO. It's clear he can't blow his opponents off the court like he used to; I think using all the tactical experience he's accumulated in the last 20 years and playing with more variety could maybe help him on some nights.

I mean, he used to get owned on the backhand side, getting caught flat-footed... but that little slicer he has, when it works anyway, bails him out of some trouble and even becomes a counter-punching weapon (such as the match point against Malisse, which he would have lost had he tried the normal backhand)...

I just can't imagine him beating Gasquet or Nadal, let alone King Roger the way he's playing like stiff these days...
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

MisterQ said:
There are several different approaches to the return game. I would say that Agassi is the best at one of those approaches.

If the ball comes into Agassi's strike zone, he is still the finest striker of an offensive yet consistent return. He can react to a serve of any speed with pinpoint timing and place the return deep with pace.

He does lack the reach and mobility of a Hewitt or a Federer, however, especially at this age, and his close positioning makes him more vulnerable to a big serve which can hit the sides or corners of the box. Agassi is not as comfortable as some others with slicing the return back from a stretched position. So it is safe to say that others get more balls back into play, albeit less aggressively.
Completely my view on that, Q :worship:
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

Ferreira, Becker and Korda were very good too
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

megadeth said:
agassifan, are you indeed an agassi fan? seems to me you don't know anything about agassi's technical part of the game much...
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I know a hell of a lot more than you do, that's for sure. Agassi's returns are some flattest on Tour, which is not a bad thing when you have otherwordly racquet speed/timing, but Andre's reflexes aren't what they used to be and it shows when a lot of his returns, especially on the backhand side, float in the middle of the court where they can be tee'd off by an opponent...

fed and hewitt has more return winners in terms of forcing an error from their opponents or setting up points. agassi, goes for broke and for clean winners on the returns..
Then how come his Serve-return winners totals are so low, as compared to Federer and Hewitt? I mean, if he is still a great returner AND he goes for broke so much... He'd be hitting passing shots off every other 2nd serve...
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

I miss the days when people who actually understand the game, like say WyverN or GeorgeWHitler would weign in in debates like this one...
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

AgassiFan said:
He can create angles, but not enough IMO. It's clear he can't blow his opponents off the court like he used to; I think using all the tactical experience he's accumulated in the last 20 years and playing with more variety could maybe help him on some nights.

I just can't imagine him beating Gasquet or Nadal, let alone King Roger the way he's playing like stiff these days...
what can you expect? he's been playing for 20 yrs already. duh! the fact that he can push fed to 5 sets, come close to nadal had he not been irritated by the 19yr old, goes to show that andre is still up there.

you can't expect him to meet your expectations of 1995. of course you deteriorate over time.

what do you mean not enough angles? obviously you haven't been following his matches enough. that's why he makes his opponents become like a human yoyo IMO.
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

megadeth said:
.what do you mean not enough angles? obviously you haven't been following his matches enough
You still don't get it: there is no doubt Andre is still a formidable opponent when he can dictate pace or otherwise control the point; he goes into 'practice' mode and doesn't make a lot of mistakes while his opponent is running from corner to corner. He takes the ball early, so he can afford not to use too much top spin.

The problem comes into play when he is playing against a tough opponent and is forced to play defense/counter punch. He used to be a passing-shot machine, but now when he needs tremendeous counter-punching/angle-creating skills to survive against guys like Federer, more often than not, he ends up making a (forced) error.

Then watch Nadal or Hewitt hitting crazy top-spinners while 15 feet off the court and off balance... Those points Andre never wins.
 

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Re: Andre - the best returner in the history of the game!!!

AgassiFan said:
I miss the days when people who actually understand the game, like say WyverN or GeorgeWHitler would weign in in debates like this one...
Hey, speaking of which.... is Leena still around?

It's a shame I never got to fuck that deliciously bitchy/moody Russian. :sad:
 
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