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Corretja Wins RCA Championship

August 23, 1998

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Alex Corretja survived a knockdown return by Andre Agassi and then saved four break points in a crucial third game of the final set for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory Sunday in the title match of the RCA Championships.

It was the first championship in the United States for Corretja, No. 11 in the latest ATP rankings and seeded sixth in the tournament, and was worth $122,500 to the 24-year-old Spaniard.

The victory cooled the hot summer streak of Agassi, the winningest player on the ATP Tour this year, who is 50-12 with the loss. He had won 19 of his previous 21 matches since falling to Germany’s Tommy Haas at Wimbledon.

Agassi, a four-time champion this year, had defeated Corretja the previous four times they played. He appeared to be on his way to another triumph when he knocked Corretja down with a hard smash in the sixth game of the second set.

``I didn’t have much choice,″ said Agassi, who lined a forehand shot into the shoulder of Corretja that dropped him to the court.

Agassi immediately jumped over the net to check on his opponent, who rose up after a moment and resumed his match.

``It’s always a scary moment. He was close to the net and just happened to be where I hit the ball,″ Agassi said.

``When I got up, I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know if I was in Indianapolis or Barcelona (his hometown) or wherever,″ said Corretja, who will break into the Top 10 in the next ATP Tour rankings with the victory.

Agassi, who was seeded fifth in the tournament, was about to even the set at 3-3 when the knockdown took place. He seemed to lose his concentration and was broken when he double-faulted on two of the last three points.

Corretja then held at love and claimed the set when Agassi double-faulted once and won only one point on his serve.

``I got a little tentative with my shots and got a little conservative,″ said Agassi, who breezed though the first set in only 34 minutes as he broke Corretja in his first two service games while winning nine of the first 12 points on the Spaniard’s serve.

The longest game of the match was the third in the third set, when Corretja saved four break points before holding to go up 2-1 after six deuces.

The players held serve through the first six games of the final set and Corretja took a 4-3 edge when he saved a break point, broke Agassi while losing only one point and lost just one point in the final game of the match.

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