Madrid Flashback: Andre Agassi wins first edition
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 1100
The first edition of the Madrid Masters took place in October 2002, with the Spanish capital replacing Stuttgart as the penultimate tournament of this series. Tommy Haas (the 2001 Stuttgart winner), Andre Agassi, Marat Safin and Tim Henman led the draw when the difference between the players from the top and those behind them was not that significant.
Three of them lost already in the second round and left the door open for their rivals! Haas had to retire against Fabrice Santoro, while another player who passed the qualifying round, Agustin Calleri, stunned Marat Safin in two tie breaks!
Paradorn Srichaphan took down Tim Henman, and Andre Agassi remained the top favorite for the trophy. In the third round, Andre prevailed against the young Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. The Spaniard played only the second Masters 1000 tournament and pushed the American to the limits in a 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 loss following a late break in the decider!
Agassi advanced into the quarter-final alongside Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sebastien Grosjean, Jiri Novak and Roger Federer, the remaining seeds left in the title battle. The American was rock-solid against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the next round, scoring a 6-3, 6-2 triumph to enter the last four, where he faced Sebastien Grosjean.
Jiri Novak ousted Paradorn Srichaphan to set the semi-final clash against Fabrice Santoro, who toppled Roger Federer 7-5, 6-3 in 78 minutes. Agassi prevailed over Grosjean 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 for his third Masters 1000 final of the season.
He faced Jiri Novak after the Czech ousted Santoro 6-2, 6-4 in swift 67 minutes.
Andre Agassi became the first Madrid Masters champion in 2002.
Novak was through to his first Masters 1000 final but could not go out and fight for the title against Agassi.
The Czech withdrew before the match due to a leg injury experienced against Santoro. In the press conference, Jiri said he felt the pain at some point against Fabrice. However, he stayed on the court and finished the encounter before feeling even worse on Sunday morning, having to give Andre a walkover.
It was the first Masters 1000 final without a single point since Rome 1998 when Albert Costa gave Marcelo Rios a walkover. Thus, Agassi celebrated his fifth title of the season and the 15th Masters 1000 crown. With those points, Andre moved only 43 behind Lleyton Hewitt in the ATP Race, battling with the younger opponent who managed to finish ahead of the veteran thanks to the upcoming Masters Cup title.
Previously, Agassi conquered Miami and Rome that season. He embraced three Masters 1000 shields for the first time since 1995 and claimed the first indoor crown at this level since Paris 1999.