Agassi too hot for Malisse

Andre Agassi continued his bid for back-to-back Grand Slams with a routine demolition of Belgium’s Xavier Malisse on a packed centre court at Roland Garros.

Andre Agassi continued his bid for back-to-back Grand Slams with a routine demolition of Belgium’s Xavier Malisse on a packed centre court at Roland Garros.

The flamboyant Las Vegan, who won his eighth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, progressed to the third round with a 6-4 7-5 7-5 victory in two hours and nine minutes.

And while his game never needed to be as hot as the mercury which topped 31 degrees under a burning Parisian sun it was warm enough to suggest the second seed will be around deep into next week.

Agassi showed little effect from the shock and exertion he had endured in the second round when he was forced to fight back from two sets down to gain a marathon triumph against 19-year-old Croat Mario Ancic.

He breezed through the first set and while Malisse, with his pony-tail and goatee beard looking for all the world as if he should have been working at an easel on the Left Bank, contributed to the spectacle with an array of spectacular running passes but he struggled to combat the solidity and precision of Agassi’s groundstrokes.

The American had preferred to run up hills in 100 degrees heat back at his desert home rather than acclimatise early for this tournament with an extended programme in Europe.

As he proceeds deeper into this tournament it is looking to be a wise choice as he seems capable of switching up a gear at will.

He raised his game in the fifth game of the second set to earn the vital break. And, after it looked as if Malisse might scramble his way back into the match in the third, Agassi again came up with the magic on cue.

This time it was in the 11th game, an exquisite forehand lob landing flush on the baseline to break the Belgian’s serve once more and allow Agassi to serve out for the match in style.

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