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Le Coq Sportif

 Agassi eliminates nervous Gasquet with ease at Rome Masters

Press (English)Andre Agassi's victory over French teenager Richard Gasquet reminded him of a match he played 19 years ago with a tennis great.

Agassi dispatched a nervous Gasquet 6-2, 6-3 in just 64 minutes Wednesday in the second round of the Rome Masters. He then compared the match to his 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal loss to John McEnroe at Stratton, Vt., in 1986......

"I was pretty nervous," Agassi said of that match. "I never felt like I relaxed on the court." Gasquet, who ending Roger Federer's 25-match winning streak in the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals last month, kept a picture of Agassi on his wall growing up.

"I never got into the match because Agassi never let me," Gasquet said. "I was on the run all the time. I served poorly but he didn't allow me anything."

Against the 18-year-old Gasquet, Agassi faced an opponent 17 years younger than him. The eight-time Grand Slam winner doesn't hold the record for age difference in a victory, though. In 1995, 42-year-old Jimmy Connors beat Alex O'Brien, who was 20 years younger.

"I just tried to play well and make him play a great match to win," Agassi said of Gasquet. "As young as he is, he has a lot to look forward to. There was a lot of unforced errors that he had and some important double faults. That's free points. I did this, too, a long time ago."

When the match ended, Gasquet whispered a few words in Agassi's ear as the two players shook hands at the net.

"He said it was a privilege to play against me," Agassi said, adding - with a laugh - that he made no such gesture when he first met McEnroe.




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