New, later Legg Mason pulls in stars

Tourney now a tuneup for approaching U.S. Open

August 14, 1999|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

The Legg Mason Tennis Classic begins with qualifying today. But this year, when the main draw begins play Monday, the tournament will take on quite a different tone from that of years past.

Instead of falling a week or two after Wimbledon, at the start of the hard-court season, it comes just two weeks before the U.S. Open, the Grand Slam event that begins in New York on Aug. 30.

The date has a lot to do with the entry list. No. 2 seed and third-ranked Andre Agassi is back, as usual, to defend his tournament title. And Michael Chang, another regular, is here, too. But this time, the competition is better.

World No. 2 Yevgeny Kafelnikov is the tournament's No. 1 seed. The Australian Open champion, who vaulted to world No. 1 this spring and then dropped with a series of first-round losses, is again on the upswing.

Spain's Alex Corretja, England's sweetheart Tim Henman and American Todd Martin are also on site, as is Karol Kucera and newly crowned Pam American Games gold medalist Paul Goldstein of Rockville.

They are the cream of a 56-player field that features five of the world's top eight players.

Qualifying will be held at the William H. G. FitzGerald Tennis Center, at 16th and Kennedy streets, N.W., in Washington today and tomorrow, with the main draw beginning play at 4 p.m. Monday.

To avoid as much of the scorching summer heat as possible, 4 p.m. tournament starts will continue through Thursday. Quarterfinal play Friday will have two sessions, at noon and 7 p.m., with the semifinals scheduled for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 21. The finals will be played at 4 p.m. Aug. 22.

For tournament information, call 202-721-9500. Single-session tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Pub Date: 8/14/99

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