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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Agassi bows out to ruthless Nadal
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Andre Agassi
Agassi was playing in his 14th and final Wimbledon
Rafael Nadal brought Andre Agassi's Wimbledon career to an end with a hugely impressive third-round win in blazing sunshine on Centre Court.

The 20-year-old Spaniard found the kind of form that has won him two French Opens as he came through 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 6-4 in two hours 14 minutes.

As the match ended the Centre Court crowd stood to acclaim Agassi.

He said: "I'll never be able to repay you for the way you've embraced me over the years, so I thank you for that."

Speaking on court to BBC Sport's Sue Barker, he added: "This is it for us as tennis players.

"If you dream of becoming a professional tennis player, you dream of playing at Wimbledon and I've had the privilege of being here many times and I certainly won't forget this one.

"The guys here are awesome tennis fans and have shown me so much love.

"Coming back this year, I didn't know what to expect from myself, but one thing I felt I could count on was the fans here."

Rafael Nadal
This was my best result on grass

Rafael Nadal

If the match proved to be a last look at Agassi at the home of tennis, it was also a watershed for second seed Nadal.

"He's one of the best players in history and I want to congratulate Andre on his career - he's unbelievable," said Nadal.

"This was my best result on grass. I'm improving so I'm very happy for that. This Centre Court is the best."

For the first time against a world-class opponent he transferred his clay-court domination to grass, serving magnificently and denying Agassi a single break point.

And against a man 16 years his senior, Nadal's relentless power, unerring accuracy and ability to chase down almost everything was simply too much for Agassi.

The Spaniard dominated the opening set and would have been annoyed to be taken to a tie-break, having missed three break points and three set points on Agassi's serve.

And the American looked set to spring a surprise at 5-2 up in the breaker before Nadal showed why he is already a two-time Grand Slam champion.

He hauled himself back to 5-5 and then produced a stunning cross-court forehand winner that drew gasps from the crowd and left Agassi stranded at the net.

An ace followed to wrap up the set and from then on Nadal was in complete control, breaking in the first game of the second set and again in game seven.

There was a brief moment of intrigue at the start of the third set as Agassi sat in a line judge's chair, apparently in protest at the time Nadal was taking on the change-over.

But it did not make the slightest difference to Nadal, who broke in game seven and served out to secure a place in the second week of Wimbledon for the first time and a match against Irakli Labadze.

All that remained was for 1992 champion Agassi to blow kisses to all four sides of the Centre Court for one last time before heading for the changing room.

SEE ALSO
Gamewatch: Agassi v Nadal
01 Jul 06 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day six photos
01 Jul 06 |  Tennis


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