Agassi Loses to Melzer at Tennis Masters

Friday, July 30th 2004, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

TORONTO (AP) _ Top seeds Roger Federer and Andy Roddick each won two matches Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Tennis Masters Canada tournament, while Andre Agassi was knocked out in the second round.

Federer, the Wimbledon champion, beat Robin Soderling 7-5, 6-1 in his second-round match then eliminated Max Mirnyi 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4). Mirnyi earlier beat No. 14 Paradorn Srichaphan 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The win extended Federer's unbeaten streak to 20 matches, dating to the French Open where he lost in the third round.

``If someone had told me after the French I wouldn't lose a match until now I would've told them this was almost impossible,'' Federer said. ``I'm happy with the way I'm playing. I'm winning my matches in straight sets, I couldn't ask for more.''

The second-seeded Roddick, the defending champion, defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the second round of the rain-delayed tournament then beat No. 16 Juan Ignacio Chela of Chile 6-1, 6-4.

The 10th-seeded Agassi was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Jurgen Melzer, a blow for the eight-time Grand Slam champion's U.S. Open preparations.

Agassi, 34, won this hard-court event three times and isn't sure whether he'll be back for another edition. The tournament won't return to the city until 2006.

``Listen, it's a question mark for me, so I certainly understand it being a question mark for others,'' Agassi said. ``I don't know if I'll be back, I never know if I'll be back. If I have that question, I can only imagine someone else having that question.''

Melzer, ranked No. 61, dominated Agassi from the start.

``It was probably one of the last chances to play him,'' Melzer said. ``There is nothing above it if you beat Agassi. To win is just big.''

Melzer later beat Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals, where he will face unseeded Nicolas Kiefer. Kiefer advanced with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 decision over fourth-seeded Carlos Moya.

Federer's next opponent will be Fabrice Santoro, who upset No. 9 Lleyton Hewitt 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. Roddick will next face Jan Hernych, a qualifier ranked 109th who beat Gustavo Kuerten 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4. Kuerten upset No. 5 Tim Henman 7-5, 6-4 in the second round.

Melzer outaced Agassi 10-3 and never allowed the veteran to get into long rallies.

``He got a lot of free points off his serve,'' Agassi said. ``He mixed up his serve, and when I did sort of get hold of his serve and if I hit it anywhere short, he was really aggressive on his first ball.''

Agassi added: ``I was uncomfortable, he was comfortable. He did a lot of things well, he played much better than I did.''