2004 Australian Open
Agassi vs Srichaphan
7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4
In the first set it appeared as if Agassi years of domination at the Australian was going to come to an abrupt end. First a drop shot which the great man's skittering legs failed to reach, then an unforced backhand error after a long, intense rally. Paradorn Srichaphan was 2-0 up, and memories of his straight-sets second-round Wimbledon victory over the American, their only previous meeting, came flooding back.
Any slam defeat for Andre Agassi has been something of a shock since his second coming in the late 1990s, and that 2002 defeat to Srichaphan was one of the most startling. For a while there was cathedral-quiet inside the Rod Laver Arena yesterday: was this to be the day that the American's unbeaten run at the Australian Open, stretching back to the start of the millennium, and encompassing three titles, was to come to an abrupt end?
Then came another drop shot - brilliance or brain cramp by Srichiphan? Would Agassi again be made to play the fool? All eyes were fixed on Agassi who blurred into fast-forward, accompanied by a burst of staccato grunts. This time he reached it, and put it away with a winner and the crisis was averted. It was not quite over, though, and before the opening set was won Agassi had to save five set points. Agassi, seeded fourth, won his 25th consecutive match in the season-opening major and improved to 205-45 in 250 career Grand Slam matches. "I came out here with a lot of respect for his firepower," Agassi said. "I had to make sure I was dictating play and not backing off..."
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