Agassi, Hewitt can ease effect of fines

Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MASON, Ohio (AP) _ The more Lleyton Hewitt wins on court, the more money he stands to lose off of it.

Hewitt, the world's No. 1 player, was sanctioned this week for failing to honor a requirement that Top 10 players help promote the ATP tour by doing interviews with the host broadcaster.

So, lots will be on the line when he takes on Andre Agassi on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the dlrs 2.95 million Cincinnati Masters Series.

The loser of the match stands to make dlrs 57,000, but if Hewitt falls he will only walk away with dlrs 28,500.

Hewitt refused to do an interview with ESPN, and the ATP said he would be fined either dlrs 20,000 or half his prize money from the tournament, whichever is larger.

The fine could reach dlrs 196,000 if Hewitt wins the event.

Agassi also has some money issues.

If he beats Hewitt, Agassi would win no less than a semifinalist's share, or dlrs 108,200. That would cover the dlrs 80,000 fine he was assessed last week for skipping the Master Series event in Toronto.

The ATP said the penalty was twice what it otherwise would be because it was Agassi's second late pullout this year. He was fined dlrs 40,000 for skipping a Masters Series event in Hamburg, Germany, in May.

The last time Hewitt played Agassi, it was February and the prize was the championship of a tournament in San Jose, California. The winner's check was for dlrs 51,500.

Hewitt won in three sets to take a 3-2 lead in their series.

``I remember being pretty lucky,'' Hewitt said. ``I won the second and third set, both in breakers. I saved (two) match points.''

Agassi advanced Thursday with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Thomas Enqvist. Hewitt, the top seed, beat Jarkko Nieminen 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Agassi, the No. 6 seed, has won four titles this year, including one in Los Angeles on the eve of the tournament he skipped in Toronto.

He missed the Australian Open with a wrist injury, lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open and lost in the second round at Wimbledon, his last tournament before Los Angeles.

Otherwise, he has been remarkably consistent, reaching the quarterfinals in eight of 10 appearances this year.

Hewitt, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, barely broke a sweat this week before Thursday. He breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 win in the first round, and led 5-0 when his second-round opponent retired with a toe injury.