On this day: Andre Agassi conquers first edition of Madrid Masters


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On this day: Andre Agassi conquers first edition of Madrid Masters

The first edition of the Madrid Masters 1000 event took place in the third week of October 2002, with the Spanish capital replacing Stuttgart as the penultimate tournament of this series. Tommy Haas (the champion in Stuttgart in 2001), Andre Agassi, Marat Safin and Tim Henman led the draw and, unlike today, the difference between the players from the top and those behind them wasn't that significant, with three of those losing already in the second round!

Haas was forced to retire against a qualifier 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 it was Andre Agassi who remained as the top favorite for the trophy.

In the third round, Andre prevailed against the young Spaniard Feliciano Lopez (only the second Masters 1000 tournament in a career) 7-6, 6-7, 7-5 with a single break in the entire match, advancing into the quarters together with Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sebastien Grosjean, Jiri Novak and Roger Federer who were the remaining seeds left in the battle for the title.

The American was rock-solid against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the next round, scoring a 6-3, 6-2 win to enter the last four where he faced Sebastien Grosjean who halted Agustin Calleri in straight sets. 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.

In the semis, Agassi prevailed against Grosjean 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 for the third Masters 1000 final of the season, facing Jiri Novak there after the Czech ousted Santoro 6-2, 6-4 in swift 67 minutes. Novak was through to the first Masters 1000 final but couldn't go out and fight against Agassi for the title, having to withdraw before the last encounter due to a leg injury suffered against Santoro.

In the press conference, Jiri said he experienced the pain during one point against Fabrice but was able to stay on the court and finish that match before feeling even worse on Sunday morning, having to give Andre a walkover.

It was the first Masters 1000 final without a single point played since Rome 1998 when Albert Costa gave Marcelo Rios a walkover, with Agassi celebrating the fifth title of the season and the 15th Masters 1000 crown. With these points, Agassi 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 that Masters Cup title he claimed.