On this day: Agassi beats Federer to join an elite club

Agassi's win over Roger Federer in the final of the Nasdaq-100 Open in April 2002

The 31-year-old American collected $456,000 and became the oldest player to lift the trophy, which he first won when he was 19.   -  AP

Andre Agassi joined the company of some elite men on Sunday and also matched his wife's accomplishment by winning his fifth title at the Key Biscayne Tennis Masters series tournament here.

The ninth-seeded Agassi outdueled 12-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to capture his fifth crown in the $6.345 million event, adding to the titles he won in 1990, 1995, 1996 and 2001. Only his wife Steffi Graf had won five singles titles here.

The 31-year-old American collected $456,000 and became the oldest player to lift the trophy, which he first won when he was 19.

READ: Two-handed backhands paid all my bills: Andre Agassi

Agassi also became the ninth player in the Open Era (since 1968) to record 700 career singles matches wins, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Guillermo Vilas, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Ilie Nastase and Boris Becker.

Agassi collected a 13th Tennis Masters Series title and his second tournament victory of 2002 after his win in Scottsdale earlier this month.

Federer, 20, slipped to 23-6 on the ATP Tour this year but he still is the leader in match victories on the circuit. He opened the year by winning the Sydney title, reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and was runner-up in Milan.

Agassi, who became the first opponent here to break Federer's serve as he took the opening two sets, saw Federer raise his level in third, when the Swiss surrendered just three points on his serve.

Federer grabbed the early break in the fourth to lead 2-1 before Agassi turned his game up a notch. "Down a break early in the fourth, I just wanted to hang on and make him serve it out," Agassi said. "Who knows if something good could happen."

Agassi clawed his way back with a break in the eighth game to tie the set at 4-4, making a superb return to the baseline that Federer could only slap into the net.

"Once I got that break, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "I felt like, 'OK, now I can just take care of my serve and maybe play a great game and get the win. That's exactly what happened," said Agassi.

(This story was published in Sportstar on April 1, 2002)

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