Agassi defeats Blake to win PowerShares Houston title
HOUSTON—Andre Agassi and James Blake played one of the most memorable U.S. Open matches of all time in 2005, Agassi coming back from two-sets-to-love down to win in a fifth-set tiebreaker in an epic quarterfinal. On Thursday night at the Toyota Center, Agassi and Blake faced each other for the first time since that U.S. Open classic, producing some familiar refrains from their defining confrontation, albeit with considerably less tension, as Agassi again emerged victorious 6-4 in the one-set championship match at the Camden Wealth Advisors Cup, the sixth event on the 2014 PowerShares Series tennis circuit.
Agassi, playing in his first PowerShares Series tournament of the year, won a furiously-fought final game of the match, breaking Blake’s serve in a 12-deuce game and clinching the victory on his sixth match point. On Agassi’s first match point, he stepped around a forehand return of serve and went for a winner up-the-line, the exact shot he took on the ad-side of the court when up 7-6 in the fifth-set tie-breaker from their famous 2005 match. While Agassi’s forehand landed on the line for a winner to close out his win in 2005, his first attempt Thursday landed in the net, causing Blake to shout to Agassi “Why didn’t you do that at the Open!”
Agassi tried the exact same shot on his second match point two points later, missing it wide. After he missed one other forehand return-of-serve on a match point, Agassi finally closed out the win 18 points later when Blake netted a forehand. The win was Agassi’s sixth of his career on the PowerShares Series, the U.S. tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.
Following the win, Agassi explained to reporters his motivations for continuing to play competitive tennis on the PowerShares Series, that features one-night events with two one-set semifinals and a one-set championship match over a six-week season.
“I like not having as much drama and being able to take it in and enjoy it,” Agassi said. “I like the format because it allows you to balance your life but come out for one good go and sort of not worry about the training and the how-far-can-I-push-myself kind of thing. It’s a nice contained evening and being around the guys who you fought with for decades.”
With the tournament win, Agassi earned 400 points in the PowerShares Series rankings. John McEnroe leads the rankings with 1200 points followed by Courier with 900 points and Roddick with 500 points. Agassi sits in a tie for fourth place with 400 points with Blake, who earned 200 points with a runner-up showing for the second straight night. Michael Chang, Ivan Lendl and Mark Philippoussis each have 300 points to rank in a three-way tie for sixth place.
The PowerShares Series continues Tuesday, February 25 in Salt Lake City when Pete Sampras makes his 2014 PowerShares Series debut, joining Blake, Courier and John McEnroe in the field. Good tickets for all PowerShares Series events are still available starting at $25 at www.PowerSharesSeries.com. VIP packages — including meet-and-greet and play-with-the-pros on-court opportunities — are also available here: www.powersharesseries.com/vip-experiences by email to VIP@insideoutse.com, or by phone at (253) 315-4299.
The remaining 2014 Power Shares Series schedule with field of players are as follows:
Tuesday, February 25, Salt Lake City, Energy Solutions Arena - Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake
Wednesday, February 26, Sacramento, Sleep Train Arena - Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake
Thursday, February 27, Portland, Moda Center - Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake
Wednesday, March 12, Nashville, Bridgestone Arena - John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Pat Cash
Thursday, March 13, Charlotte, Time Warner Arena - John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Pat Cash
Friday, March 21, Surprise, Surprise Stadium - Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Todd Martin, Michael Ch