Andre Agassi never says goodbye

Andre Agassi’s retirement will have to wait a little longer after the eight-times Grand Slam winner battled to a 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2, victory over Romania's Andrei Pavel in the US Open first round last night.

At times looking like a maestro and others like the 36-year-old he is, Agassi needed three hours and 31 minutes to clinch victory in front of an adoring capacity crowd of nearly 24,000 at the newly-named USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Scotsman says.

"I want to be here real bad, for the whole two weeks," Agassi told the crowd during a postmatch interview. "I really want to leave my best stuff on the court. ... I'm very proud of this day, and I'm glad it gets to happen again."

There were moments, though, when it looked as if Agassi would be bidding adieu for good. After he lost the first set, for example. And especially when he fell behind 4-0 in the third set, causing his wife, former star Steffi Graf, to pace a bit, the AP reports.

It took four set points for Agassi to win the third straight tiebreaker. He squandered two with errors, and Pavel saved one on a backhand cross-court return of a second serve. But Agassi confused Pavel with his return of serve to win the set.

And though the fourth set was a mere formality, it brought Agassi officially into the second round, into his matchup with the eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis.

"I thought I have him," said Pavel. "I start having stomach cramps. I couldn't concentrate that much, like before."

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov