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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 04:08 GMT
Agassi ends Ferrero hopes
MASTERS CUP - BLUE GROUP
Andre Agassi celebrates a superb victory against Juan Carlos Ferrero
Federer-----------P2 W2 L0
Agassi-------------P2 W1 L1
Nalbandian-------P2 W1 L1
Ferrero------------P2 W0 L2
Andre Agassi has guaranteed that Andy Roddick will end the year as world number one by beating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Masters Cup.

Agassi bounced back from the loss of the first set to win 2-6 6-3 6-4 thanks to some stunning serving.

It was Ferrero's second consecutive defeat in the Houston tournament, and he cannot now reach the semi-finals.

Earlier, Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was in stunning form to beat Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3-6-0.

Roddick said he was "incredibly honoured" to hold the position, which Agassi, who started the year as number one, said was an "incredible accomplishment".

I'm not thinking about number one right now, I'm thinking I lost the match
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Agassi added: "Andy had number one in his hands the whole week regardless of if I beat Ferrero or not.

"He has proved himself the best among the greatest players in the world. That's a lot to be proud about."

Ferrero said: "I'm not thinking about number one right now, I'm thinking I lost the match, I'm out of the tournament and I didn't play good tennis.

"I had a pretty good year. I'll finish the year number two in the world. I think that's really great."

Agassi was out of sorts in the first set, in which Ferrero broke the American twice.

But the eight-time Grand Slam champion moved up a gear in the second set, breaking Ferrero's serve while leading 4-3.

Agassi double-faulted serving for the set at 40-15 but took the next point with a powerful back-hand winner down the line.

Roger Federer
Federer was in inspirational form
That broke Ferrero, who lost his second service game of the final set and never recovered.

Agassi will next play Nalbandian to determine who from this group goes through to the semi-finals with the unbeaten Federer.

Switzerand's Federer ended a five-match losing streak against former Wimbledon finalist Nalbandian to remain unbeaten after two matches in the season-ending tournament.

The third-ranked Federer was always in control as he won the first five games.

Nalbandian clawed his way back to 5-3 but Federer rallied, winning the next seven games to close out the match in 71 minutes.

The Argentine, who has been troubled by tendinitis in his left wrist, sent down six double-faults and 26 unforced errors to Federer's 11.

"To beat him now for the first time, it's just good to get it off my back," Federer said.

"He's normally one of the best returners in the world but he really couldn't find his rhythm. I took advantage of that.

"I really didn't serve that great. That's really surprising, to beat him so easy but not really serving great. That shows how poorly he was returning."

Nalbandian said: "I didn't feel really good. But, also, Roger played a very good match - almost perfect."

Roddick's next match is against the number six seed Rainer Schuettler of Germany on Thursday.


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