Agassi: first man to reach four consecutive Grand Slams since Rod Laver in 1969
Lindsay Davenport and Andre Agassi became the first Grand Slam singles champions of the 21 st Century last weekend with wins over Martina Hingis and Yevgeny Kafelnikov respectively at the Australian Open 2000 presented by Ford in association with Heineken. Davenport disposed of the three-time Australian Open singles champion with a display of such inspired tennis that Hingis later confessed, " I kept looking at the clock hoping we would at least be out there for an hour." Despite heavy strapping on her thigh, Davenport raced to a 61 lead in just 18 minutes and managed to sustain the onslaught to establish a 51 lead in the second set. But as the reigning Wimbledon champion stepped up to serve for her third Grand Slam title, she faltered losing her service game. Hingis was quick to scramble back into the match and levelled the second set at 5-5 before Davenport regained her momentary loss of confidence to hold for 6-5 and break Hingis to take the championship 61 75. "Things were really going my way," Davenport said. " I was doing so well. I was hitting all the shots I wanted to hit. I definitely tensed up [at 61 51] ..even though you've won Grand Slams before, you're always going to get nervous serving for it." She continued, " I went on a roll... It's so hard to do that against a player like Martina. I made it look easy today. You don't play that well that many times in your career. You've got to cherish it." Davenport's win brings to an end Hingis' 27 straight wins at the Australian Open. Agassi, playing his fourth consecutive Grand Slam final, the first man to do so since Rod Laver in 1969, made a slow start against the defending champion. The world No. 1 rallied back from a 0-4 deficit to 4-3 but was broken for a third time to allow Kafelnikov to close out the opening set 6-3. However, in a match similar to their US Open semifinal encounter last year, Agassi's fitness level outweighed that of his opponent, and once the American found his rhythm, he was able to mix a cocktail of ferocious groundstrokes and deft drop shots that left the Russian a step behind the pace. In front of record crowds, Agassi went on to take the next three sets and the title 36 63 62 64. A delighted Agassi said, "There's nothing in my life which compares to what has happened to me since last May. Winning the French Open has given me more than I could ever ask for, let alone the US Open and now winning here. It's been a crazy life...You never get used to it (winning a Grand Slam). It always feels special." Agassi becomes the first man to hold three Grand Slam singles titles at the same time since Mats Wilander in 1988. In the men's doubles competition, Ellis Ferreira (RSA) and Rick Leach (USA) defeated Wayne Black (ZIM) and Andrew Kratzmann (AUS) 64 36 63 36 1816 in a match that thrilled the Rod Laver Arena crowd for four hours and 21 minutes. The fifth set alone took two hours and 1 minute. Lisa Raymond (USA) and Rennae Stubbs (AUS) defeated Hingis and Mary Pierce 64 57 64 in the women's doubles Final. Aniko Kapros won both the girls singles and doubles events at Melbourne Park. The Hungarian defeated Spain's Maria Jose Martinez 62 36 62 in the singles before teaming up with Australia's Christine Wheeler to defeat Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette of the USA 63 64 in the doubles. Andy Roddick (USA) scored a 76(2) 63 victory over Mario Ancic (CRO) in the Final of the boys singles event and teamed up with fellow American Tres Davis in the doubles Final. The Americans were defeated however by another teammate Tommy Robredo and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 62 57 119 in the Final.