MELBOURNE, Australia -- Andre Agassi overcame a record
number of aces from Joachim Johannson on Sunday and set up an
Australian Open quarterfinal against defending champion and
top-ranked Roger Federer.
Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam winner and four-time champion
in Melbourne, produced one of his great performances to defeat the
6-foot-6 Johansson, who slammed 51 aces in their 2-hour, 38-minute
One of the best returners of serve, Agassi
endured Johansson's serves, breaking the Swede three times to win
6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Agassi, 34, dropped his own serve twice, at the start of the first
and fourth sets, and made only 13 unforced errors in the match --
none in the first set.
"It was a tough day," said Agassi. The 11th-seeded Johansson
was pushing the limits on almost every shot. He mixed 66 unforced
errors with a remarkable 96 winners, including his aces and service
Johansson, 22, surpassed Richard Krajicek's mark of 49 aces in a
quarterfinal loss to Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the 1999 U.S.
Johansson's final three aces came in his last service game.
"Joachim today was hitting the ball so big," Agassi said.
"What can you do but sort of react?
"I was anxious the whole time," he added. "I had to stay
focused and disciplined, give myself a look and hope I can convert
on the few chances I do get."
Quite simply, Agassi said, returning against Johansson "is not
"It's very uncomfortable," he said. "You just have to admire
it while you're out there because there's just not a whole lot you
can do when destiny is in somebody's hands that extremely."
Thomas Johansson, the 2002 Australian Open winner, lost 7-5,
6-3, 6-1 to Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty.
Federer, whose 11 titles in 2004 included three majors, extended
his winning streak to 25 matches with a 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (4) defeat of
Federer has won 48 out of his last 50 matches, and hasn't lost
since the second round at the Athens Olympics last August.
Baghdatis broke Federer's serve once and stunned Federer with
some brilliant crosscourt forehands in the third set.
Federer, who beat Baghdatis at the last U.S. Open in the
19-year-old Cypriot's only other appearance at a major, fell behind
3-0 in the tiebreaker before reeling off five straight points.
"I enjoyed the battle for sure," said Federer. "After I've
won, it's always good to battle it out and win it."
No. 4 Marat Safin of Russia rallied to defeat
Olivier Rochus of Belgium, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), 7-6
(2). The 6-4 Safin fired 29 aces and had just one double
fault against the 5-5 Rochus, who had one ace and three double
Safin lost to Federer in the finals of the Australian Open last
year after snapping Agassi's 26-match tournament winning streak
in the semifinals.
American doubles combination Bob and Mike Bryan nearly lost
their third-round doubles match to 13th-seeded Israeli pair of
Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram. The Israelis led the third-set
tiebreak 5-1 before the third-seeded Bryans rallied to 5-5, then
later saved two match points to win 10-8 in tiebreaker.
Third-round men's action Saturday was highlighted by Lleyton
Hewitt's victory against Juan Ignacio Chela in a match full of spit and
Chela became angry when he thought Hewitt's loud cry of "Come
on!" was a bit too much celebration for an unforced error that
resulted in triple break point in the fifth game of the fourth set.
He drove his next serve at Hewitt, even though this was a
critical part of the match. Hewitt converted the break and Chela
spat toward Hewitt when the players were switching sides.
"He spat in my direction," said Hewitt, who won the
third-round match 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. "It's unfortunate because we
were having a dogfight match out there. We're both competitive
blokes, we were going for it."
"It's sad that something like that happens," he added. "But,
you know, he apologized to me at the net when we shook hands and I
said, 'Just forget about it, mate."'
Chela said he didn't spit at Hewitt. As for the serve Hewitt had
to dodge, the Argentine said he couldn't remember anything about
"It was a very tense moment in the match," he said. "There
was a lot of pressure. He thought I spat at him. I felt bad. At the
end of the match, I went up to him to apologize."
On Sunday, tournament referee Peter Bellinger, after reviewing
videotapes of the match, fined Chela $2,000 for unsportsmanlike
Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.