Agassi, Haas, Novak Advance in Italian Open

Thursday, May 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ROME (AP) _ Andre Agassi beat Augustin Calleri 7-6 (4), 7-5 Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.

Calleri used a powerful backhand to keep the 32-year-old Agassi scrambling, but the seven-time Grand Slam champion capitalized on a double fault by his opponent in the second set and served out the match.

``I thought it was a very high-quality match,'' said Agassi said. ``It boiled down to a just a few points each set. It was a good test for me.''

Seventh-seeded Tommy Haas and 14th-seeded Jiri Novak won in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals.

Haas beat 10th-seeded Sebastien Grosjean 6-3, 6-4, snapping a five-match losing streak against the Frenchman.

``It's good to finally have beaten him,'' Haas said. ``But he looked like he was a little injured in the hip today and he made a few more errors than usual.''

Haas broke Grosjean's serve twice in the opening set and hit an overhead passing shot from behind the baseline for a break to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.

The 24-year-old Haas improved to 20-9 this year.

Novak rallied from 1-4 in the opening set to defeat Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-1.

Three Americans made it to the third round for the first time since 1995.

In addition to Agassi, Andy Roddick and James Blake were scheduled to play later Thursday.

Three Americans had not reached the round of 16 in Rome since Jeff Tarango, MaliVai Washington and Michael Chang did it seven years ago.

The 13th-seeded Roddick rallied to beat Andrei Pavel 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 Wednesday in a match delayed more than two hours because of rain.

``I didn't go nuts which was good. I kind of kept my head together, which was a nice surprise,'' the 19-year-old said.

Roddick is scheduled to face Wayne Ferreira.

James Blake rallied from a loss in the first set to beat Andrea Gaudenzi 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Blake was to play Fernando Gonzalez.

The tournament's top four seeds, No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and No. 2 Gustavo Kuerten, defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and No. 4 Yevgeny Kafelnikov lost Wednesday.