Agassi comes roaring back with victory over Paes

August 30, 1996|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- U.S. Open darling Andre Agassi had a brief scare yesterday afternoon, when his opponent and friend Leander Paes set the stadium abuzz by bursting to a 6-3, 4-0 lead in their second-round match.

"What I was really thinking was, 'What am I going to do?' He was playing out-of-this-world tennis," Agassi said after his 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 victory. "It felt like I was doing everything I could do the first set. I didn't feel like I donated my serve. I felt like he played a great game to break me . . . and I couldn't break him because of the shots he was coming up with."

The shots were all-out, full-on-the-run passing shots that left Agassi gasping.

"He was hitting drop volley winners off my returns," Agassi said. "He was hitting screaming passing shots. He was hitting backhands and forehand overheads for put-aways. I just felt like every time I made a selection for a shot, he had an answer."

But then, Agassi began to rally, and anyone who saw him run back to his chair between games on his way to the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, knew the sign of things to come, when Agassi sprinted to his chair at 4-4 in the second set.

"This was probably as extreme as it gets, when you're down, 6-3, four-love, then to win the next 18 of 19 games," Agassi said. "Never would have thought at 6-3, four-love that was it, that he was only going to get one more game."

But that's all Paes got.

"After the game that put me up four-love, I lost the rhythm on my serve," Paes said. "I think I lost my concentration there, a little focus with what I wanted to do. That hurt me bad. Give Andre one chance, he's going to come back and that's exactly what he did."

No smiles here

Pam Shriver, who managed to smile and joke after her singles loss Tuesday, had a harder time of it yesterday when she and doubles partner Zina Garrison Jackson lost in straight sets.

Seeded 13th, Shriver and Garrison Jackson were upset in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, by Laura Montalvo and Barbara Rittner.

"If you lose singles because you're underprepared, that's one thing," Shriver said. "But I know if I'd been healthier in the last week, and worked harder . . . and on top of it. When I hurt myself in San Diego, I was playing really well. I was really looking forward -- ah, in the end, I know if I'm going to buy into playing part time, I can't get too up and down like this."

Shriver said she probably will go home to Baltimore today and then come back next week for some WTA meetings and perhaps some work with ESPN Sports Center.

Next on her tennis card will be four dates with the Delaware Smash of World Team Tennis at the University of Delaware. She'll team with Nicole Arendt for matches Sept. 18, 20, 23 and 24.

Conchita the brave

Most tennis players arrive in Manhattan and hire a car and driver to get them from downtown to Flushing Meadow. Not Conchita Martinez.

"Sometimes there is a mix-up in transportation," she said. "So I rented my own car."

It's a black Mercedes and she drives it herself.

"I like driving," she said. "And I love driving through New York. It gets my adrenalin going, those taxi drivers."

And she admits that it is "more crazy" driving here than in Barcelona, because in Barcelona all you have to do is drive fast.

"I like driving fast," she said.

Pub Date: 8/30/96

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