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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Agassi edges El Aynaoui
Andre Agassi celebrates victory
Second seed Andre Agassi took over three hours to subdue the spirited challenge of Younes El Aynaoui and reach the last 16 at Wimbledon on Saturday.

The former champion was not at his best on Centre Court but still showed sufficient class to win a tight contest 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (7/4).

He now faces Mark Philippoussis on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

El Aynaoui had not beaten Agassi in four previous meetings but looked to have a real chance of breaking his duck as he took the first set 7-5.

World number one Agassi made some uncharacteristic errors in the opening set and was kept on the back foot by some fierce serving from the tall Moroccan.

But the American stepped up a gear in the second set, raising the pace of his serve and playing a more aggressive game.

With his own serve secure - he lost just four points on his own delivery in the set - Agassi looked to break El Aynaoui and did so in the 10th game to level the match at one set all.

With Agassi dominating at the net and El Aynaoui continuing to serve his way out of trouble, the third set reached a tie-break, won decisively 7-4 by Agassi as the underdog appeared to tire.

I knew today I had to go out there and really execute
Andre Agassi

However, the 27th seed picked himself up and contributed richly to an entertaining fourth set, saving three break points in a marathon ninth game containing six deuces.

And in the 12th it was El Aynaoui who held three break points and the opportunity to take the set and square the match.

But Agassi held firm and showed his big-match temperament to taking the tie-break 7-4 to close out the match.

Afterwards, the 1992 champion paid respect to his opponent.

"I knew today I had to go out there and really execute," he said.

"Because not only is Younes a talented player, but he knows how to win, he knows how to beat the best players and he believes he can.

"It was a good standard out there.

I always enjoy playing Younes, he's frustrating at times but there's a lot of tactics going on out there on the court."



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