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Tennis Roundup : Agassi, 18 Now, Takes the Cake

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Top-seeded Andre Agassi showed Sunday why he’s considered America’s top young tennis player.

Two days after celebrating his 18th birthday, Agassi won the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship at Isle of Palms, S.C., beating former champion Jimmy Arias, 6-2, 6-2.

Agassi, ranked No. 18 in the world, is the first American to win the clay court title since 1983 when Arias beat Andres Gomez.

Agassi won $38,000 for the victory at the Wild Dunes Racquet Club. Arias won $19,000.

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Agassi, 19-4 this year, had 17 unforced errors and 24 outright winners, while Arias had 20 unforced errors and 15 winners.

This seemed to be the ideal place for Arias, who advanced past the opening round for the first time this year. He likes clay and, before Sunday, his record was 16-3 in this tournament.

But he was no match for Agassi.

“I didn’t have a great feel today when we started out,” Arias said. “And he’s not the kind of guy to start slowly against because the more and more confidence he gets, the harder and harder he hits.”

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The players, who are good friends, carried on an off-and-on conversation throughout the match to the delight of the 2,500 people who packed the stands.

After Arias hammered two aces in the sixth game of the first set, Agassi said, “Your serve’s improved a bit.”

Arias then said: “Yeah, you might as well not even try to hit it.”

In the next game, Agassi asked Arias if he heard the ball “echoing.” To that, Arias said, “If you didn’t hit it as hard, you wouldn’t have that problem.

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“Mine aren’t echoing.”

Kent Carlsson of Sweden, playing in only his third tournament after an eight-month layoff, defeated Henri Leconte of France, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, to win the $602,500 West German Open.

Carlsson, 29, beat the 24-year-old Frenchman in 2 hours 12 minutes to collect the $68,000 top prize.

At Tokyo, top-seeded Pam Shriver served seven aces and defeated Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 7-5, 6-1, to win the women’s single title in the $300,000 Pan Pacific Open.

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Shriver, ranked No. 4 in the world, collected $50,000. The third-seeded Sukova, ranked No. 7, earned $22,500.


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