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First Hewitt-Agassi match was a stunner

By Times staff writer, Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 6, 2002

NEW YORK -- Lleyton Hewitt's first match against Andre Agassi, which took place in a 1998 Australian Open tuneup, was notable because Hewitt, then 16, defeated the well-established but down-on-his-luck Agassi in straight sets.

Agassi remembers the meeting for another reason.

"He was wearing a safety pin in his shorts to hold them up," Agassi said. "I'm not kidding."

Which side?

"I actually think it was one on each side," Agassi said. "I didn't believe it, that that was my opponent. He just seemed like he had a couple strings hanging in his shoes."

The top-ranked Hewitt is now 4-2 against the sixth-seeded Agassi, a two-time Open champion. Saturday's semifinal meeting is their first in a Grand Slam event.

STALKER SENTENCED: A German man pleaded guilty Thursday to stalking Serena Williams. Albrecht Stromeyer, 34, entered the plea to fourth-degree stalking, a misdemeanor, in Criminal Court in Queens. He is expected to be placed in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Judge Suzanne Melendez told Stromeyer to stay away from Williams and her family and at least 1,000 yards from WTA Tour and U.S. Tennis Association tournaments, including the U.S. Open.

Stromeyer waived his right of appeal and agreed to get psychiatric treatment in his hometown of Frankfurt. An Oct. 23 hearing was scheduled to review the case; he is not required to attend.

Stromeyer was arrested Saturday at the National Tennis Center and held on $3,000 bail. Williams has been traveling with a bodyguard since May.

TABLOID TALK: Thursday's New York Post included a photo of Friends star Matthew Perry turning his head to look at Anna Kournikova while she practiced. The caption read: "Watch it, Matthew, you're courting trouble." Perry is a friend of Saddlebrook's Jennifer Capriati and has attended several Capriati matches this year.

Also here was pop singer Enrique Iglesias, who watched friend Kournikova lose her doubles match with teammate Martina Hingis.

RANKINGS WATCH: Serena Williams is No. 1 and sister Venus is No. 2 ... for now. If Serena is the only Williams to reach the final, she'll keep the spot. But if she were to lose to Venus in Saturday's final, Venus would reclaim No. 1, a position she held earlier this year.

A NEW SHRINE: The USTA said it will create the U.S. Open Court of Champions, a year-round attraction at the National Tennis Center honoring singles champions in the event's 122 years. The 9,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion will have a listing of winners and will chronicle achievements of the tournament's greatest champions. Inductees will be announced at next year's Open.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Serena Williams-Lindsay Davenport match today is the 13th all-American women's semifinal since 1968. The two also met in the 1999 semifinals. Serena won the title that year. ... In seven previous Opens, Dutchman Sjeng Schalken won a combined seven matches. He has five wins this year after reaching the semifinals. ... Queens, N.Y., native Art Garfunkel will sing America the Beautiful and Bridge Over Troubled Water before Sunday's men's final. Another Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Aretha Franklin, will sing before Saturday's women's final with 40 members of New York's Boys Choir of Harlem. ... Andy Roddick, 2-1 against Pete Sampras, is one of 11 men who have played Sampras more than once and own a winning record.

-- KEITH NIEBUHR, WIRE REPORTS

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