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Agassi, Serena: U.S. Open Crowd Pleasers

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There was no stopping Andre Agassi, who approached his 20th straight U.S. Open on Monday night to a roaring greeting from the crowd. They were then rewarded by witnessing his tidy 69-minute, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 romp over an overwhelmed and thoroughly outclassed Romanian, Razvan Sabau.

Cranking out 11 aces at up to 127 mph, drilling baseline winners at will, toying with drop shots and lobs, Agassi, 35, couldn’t have asked for a much easier start to the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, the Associated Press reports.

“You can’t always hope for matches to go that uneventfully,” said Agassi, who won the Open in 1994 and ’99, was runner-up three times and has never missed the tournament since his first one in 1986.

“That’s an amazing thing,” he told the crowd. “I’ve been through a lot of things in my life. A lot of things have taken me away from the lines of a tennis court. But it’s never taken me away from here. Twenty years here feels better than 19, so thank you.”

Two other popular players, Serena and Venus Williams, each of them two-time champions, also won Monday in straight sets, though the No. 8 Serena looked less convincingly like a contender than her 10th-seeded big sister.

Slower and heavier than in the past, Serena – sporting $40,000 worth of dangling earrings that looked like chandeliers – fell behind 3-1 in the second set before bearing down to beat 16-year-old qualifier Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan, 6-1, 6-3. Venus, trying to build on her Wimbledon triumph, breezed past Rika Fujiwara of Japan, 6-3, 6-1.

After one of Serena’s platinum-and-diamond chandelier ear ornaments fell off during the match, she said: “I didn’t put it on tight enough because I was rushing to go out. I was hoping it wouldn’t fall, but I knew in the back of my mind it would and it did.”