Originally created 10/30/04

Agassi wins in straight sets to reach semifinals



STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Top-seeded Andre Agassi beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (4), 6-2 Friday to reach the Stockholm Open semifinals for the first time.

It's the 34-year-old Agassi's first final four berth at the tournament; he lost in the quarterfinals in 1989 and 1994, his previous appearance.

Verdasco began well, holding at love in each of his first four service games.

"He's tough for anybody to play, a left-hander with a very big serve," Agassi said. "He can hit in every direction, with spin, flat. It's a difficult serve to read and to return."

But Agassi finally broke Verdasco in the second game of the second set, then broke him again to end the match. Agassi set up match point with a backhand pass down the line, and Verdasco ended it by sending a backhand wide.

"In the second set I played a good game to break him, and once I was in the lead I took care of my serve," Agassi said.

His semifinal opponent is fourth-seeded Tommy Haas, who defeated Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-3, 7-6 (4).