clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

EX-NO. 1 COURIER KNOCKS OFF NO. 1-RANKED AGASSI

Being No. 1 in the world is being a big target. Just ask Andre Agassi.

Playing his first tournament as the world's top-ranked player, Agassi fell to Jim Courier, who once held the spot himself."It's nice to see him playing this well again," Agassi said of Courier, "but I'm not too excited that it's at my expense."

Courier beat Agassi 6-3, 6-4 in a chilly wind in the Japan Open final Sunday as many of the 10,000 spectators cheered for Agassi to turn the match around.

Home favorite Kimiko Date, trying for her fourth straight Japan Open women's title, lost earlier Sunday to another American, Amy Frazier, who saved two set points in the first set and one in the second in a 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 triumph.

Besides the loss, Agassi also is also suffering with a sore back.

"I feel like I didn't play great today by any means," Agassi said. "Some had to do with the back, some had to do with conditions and the wind, and a lot had to do with Jim and the way that he was playing."

Agassi has been troubled by a back strain since preparations last month for the U.S. Davis Cup victory in Italy.

"You can't be casual or lackadaisical or compromise your movement with Jim. He's one of the best players in the world," Agassi said.

Agassi is skipping this week's tournament in Hong Kong because of his back. "I'll get a lot of massage on it for sure."

Courier now has won seven of his 11 meetings with Agassi, but the two were meeting for the first time since Courier won their U.S. Open quarterfinals clash in 1992. And before coming to Tokyo, No. 15-ranked Courier had not beaten a top 10 player in more than 10 months despite winning two tournaments earlier this year.

He beat No. 6 Michael Chang to reach the final here.

"I've had a good week. It makes me more hungry to play well," said Courier.

Agassi's No. 1 status wasn't in danger, however. Fellow American Pete Sampras, at the top for 82 weeks before dropping to second in the rankings a week ago, lost in the second round of a tournament in Barcelona, Spain.

At Houston, top-seeded Steffi Graf crushed Sweden's Asa Carlsson 6-1, 6-1 to win the Houston Women's Tennis Championships.

Graf, No. 1 in the world, extended her unbeaten streak for 1995 to 18-0 in matches and 36-0 in sets played. It was her fourth tournament victory of the year and she has yet to be forced to three sets.

At Barcelona, Spain, Austria's Thomas Muster won his 19th consecutive final on clay by trouncing Sweden's Magnus Larsson 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the Conde de Godo ATP tournament.