Agassi, Garcia reach second round


WASHINGTON, Agencies

Unseeded Adrian Garcia, of Chile, overpowered American James Blake 6-1, 6-4 in the night match on Tuesday to reach the second round of the ATP Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Top seed Andre Agassi also cruised into the next round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow American Paul Goldstein.

Garcia moves on to face France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round. Mathieu won easily over South Korea’s Daniel Yoo 6-2, 6-2.

Garcia, who turned pro in 1998, posted his best result of the year so far on clay, winning a Challenger tournament three months ago in Zagreb, Croatia.

This was just the second tournament in four months for American Blake, who has been bothered by a virus and shoulder injury.

In May, Blake, the fifth seed, hurt his spine in a collision with a net post while practising in Italy.

Goldstein, who jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, had the crowd cheering against Agassi as he grew up in nearby Rockville, Maryland. Agassi is from Las Vegas.

“Goldie played a good game to break me and that got my attention early,” said the 34-year-old Agassi. “I felt like I picked it up after that. I came up with a few good shots and got straight back into it from there.”

It was Agassi’s first outing since beating Lleyton Hewitt, of Australia, at Cincinnati two weeks ago for his first title in a year and a half.

“After Cincinnati, I felt really good and I’m coming in with a lot of confidence,” said Agassi, a five-time champion here.

“The title in Cincinnati gives me belief going into the (U.S.) Open. I just want to give myself a chance to play my best tennis when it matters the most.”

In the second round, Agassi faces Kristian Pless of Denmark, who edged American wild card Brian Baker 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).

Earlier Tuesday, seventh seed Cyril Saulnier of France beat compatriot and doubles partner Antony Dupuis, 6-3, 6-4 and American Jan-Michael Gambill also advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 6-4 triumph over Austrian Stefan Koubek.

Sixth seed Alberto Martin of Spain edged South African Wayne Ferreira 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).