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Last Updated: Monday, 31 May, 2004, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Classic Matches: Rafter v Agassi
1997 - Men's Singles Semi-final
P Rafter (Aus) bt A Agassi (US) 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3

Pat Rafter
Rafter prevailed in a titanic struggle
It can take years for some matches to attain classic status, but this semi-final match was bracketed with the best almost immediately.

The clash of styles delighted the purists with Pat Rafter charging the net and Andre Agassi looking to pass.

The Australian led twice but was pegged back in four tit-for-tat sets.

Eventually the pressure of seeing his opponent constantly at the net told on Agassi, and Rafter, who broke to lead 3-2, held on to reach the final.

Rafter started the brighter and broke serve when Agassi double-faulted, holding out to take the first set.

Agassi levelled after breaking to lead 5-4 in the second as the Centre Court crowd started to appreciate that both men were playing at their very best.

Agassi handed Rafter the third set when errors start to creep into his play but the American bounced straight back with an early break in the fourth and kept Rafter at bay with fierce groundstrokes.

But then the telling moment came in the fifth and Rafter closed out for a memorable win.

Never one to mince his words, the only person on Centre Court who did not appreciate what had happened was Agassi. "It sucked" was his verdict.





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