Once again, Ivan the Conqueror cut Andre the Giant down to size.
Top-seeded Ivan Lendl ignored gusty winds and blew away defending champion Andre Agassi 6-2, 6-3 Sunday to reach the final of the Tournament of Champions. Lendl is now 4-0 against the talented teen-ager from Las Vegas."I have a long way to go before I can be put in a category with him," Agassi said.
Lendl was scheduled to play unseeded Jaime Yzaga of Peru today for the championship of the rain-delayed tournament. Yzaga beat eighth-seeded Michael Chang 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal on a windy day at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.
Lendl, who won the tournament in 1982 and 1985, had nine aces and eight service winners against Agassi.
"I felt I served very well, even with the wind," Lendl said. "Nobody likes this weather, but you can't get frustrated by it."
Agassi, ranked fifth in the world, said Lendl's superior strength gave him an advantage in the wind.
"He can drive the ball through the wind, and it seemed I was the one worrying about it," Agassi said. "I take the ball early so I need a good bounce. He waits longer for the ball and that gives him time to adjust."
Agassi had only two break points, and Lendl saved one of them with three straight aces in the fourth game of the match.
"That really helped," Lendl said. "It gave me confidence on my serve and I think Andre got a little worried."
Agassi said he needs to improve his own serve to beat Lendl, who has yet to lose a set in the tournament.
"If I can't hold serve, I can't put pressure on him," Agassi said.
After winning six tournaments in 1988 and rising to No. 3 in the world, Agassi has failed to reach a Grand Prix final this year. Lendl has already won three titles this year and regained the No. 1 ranking he lost to Mats Wilander at the U.S. Open.
Yzaga is 0-2 against Lendl, although he won a set in both matches.
"He is difficult to play because he is so consistent on every point," Yzaga said. Yzaga broke Chang's serve six times to become the third unseeded finalist at the 10-year-old tournament.
"It was very cold and windy ... but obviously it didn't affect my game," Yzaga said. "I played very well. I moved the ball around and kept him out of his rhythm."
Ygaza, ranked 56th, made almost twice as many unforced errors as Chang but he hit 30 winners and was more effective at the net than his 17-year-old opponent.
"Today, I didn't have the fight in me for some reason," Chang said. "But Jaime played well and deserved to win."
Yzaga, who has won three Grand Prix titles in his career, said he was surprised by his success here.
"I never expected it," he said. "I came here to play a couple of matches and get ready for the Italian Open."