This Date in U.S. Open History: August 31

Friday, August 31, 2012 /by

Every morning during the U.S. Open, Richard Pagliaro will take a look back at a significant match that took place on that calendar day.

August 31, 2006: Andre Agassi d. Marcos Baghdatis, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 (Second Round)

Two showmen stood toe-to-toe on the baseline, ripping eye-popping drives in a night clash that was tennis theatre featuring exceptional shotmaking, improbable comebacks, choking, cramping, and a rowdy crowd of more than 23,000 exhorting Agassi through one final finish line.

It began on a Thursday night, ended on a Friday morning, and will likely remain eternally embedded in the minds of those fans who screamed their lungs out as Agassi fought off three break points at 5-5, then broke Baghdatis in the next game to close his final professional triumph.
 
“Listen, I've lived a dream for 21 years. I've lived a dream,” Agassi said. “It's gonna be impossible for me to be disappointed with a result when you have that sort of support and feeling out there. This is why I chose here.”
 
The 36-year-old Agassi was giving the people what they wanted when he took a two-set lead and appeared in command, given his 58-0 record at the Open with such a cushion. The outcome appeared a formality when Agassi opened a 4-0 fourth-set lead, but Baghdatis caught fire and Agassi tightened. 
 
At the 25-second mark of the video, see Baghdatis hit a running shot then teeter on his toes, leaning on his racquet like a can for balance, before cramps in right legs cause him to tumble to the court at 4-4 in the fifth set.
 
“I just wanted to fight, you know?” Baghdatis said. “Playing Andre in Arthur Ashe, the last thing I want to just die on the court. I will do anything to win. That's all. That's what I did.”
 
The unseeded Agassi arrived in New York for his U.S. Open farewell burdened by a bad back that required cortisone shots and feeling unprepared with a 9-7 record on the season as he faced the Australian Open finalist. Then, he turned back time, giving fans a night to remember in his final win. 
 
“You play for those moments,” Agassi said. “Would I have been disappointed if I had lost? Yeah, I would have been disappointed not to come back again. At the same time, how can you be disappointed when it's all sort of surreal?”

This Date in U.S. Open History

August 27: The defending champion survives his opener (1985)
August 28: Jimmy Connors' legendary run begins (1991)
August 29: Pierce rises from the dead (2003)
August 30: Santoro, Blake put on a show (2007)
August 31: Agassi's final, epic victory (2006)
September 1: Sampras' win streak snapped (1997)
September 2: Doubles players announce lawsuit vs. ATP (2005)
September 3: Safin survives in breakthrough tournament (2000)
September 4: A bizarre Williams vs. Williams match (2005)
September 5: Unbreakable: Pete vs. Andre (2001)
September 6: A Seles-Capriati classic (1991)
September 7: The late show with Agassi and Blake (2005)
September 8: Venus' late comeback vs. Hingis (2000)
September 9: Sharapova feels pretty powerful (2006)

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