Agassi turns final into (his) child's play
Jaden Agassi could be the most beautiful baby you ever saw except, of course, your own child or grandchild. Jaden is such a blond knockout at 17 months, nobody even noticed he was missing a front pearly Sunday while Daddy was routing Carlos Moya for another NASDAQ-100 Open title.
Jaden had a tougher week than Andre. The tyke with history's greatest tennis pedigree toppled over into a shopping bag and the unopened top of a juice bottle the other day.
''Caught him right here,'' Andre said, pointing to the middle of his own upper gum. ``He was bleeding, and of course Steffi and I panicked, but the bottle took out his tooth clean as a whistle -- like, whish! -- and he's fine now.''
It isn't often we get a chance here to dwell on a child not yet 1 ½ years old. It isn't often, either, anyone whacks out a world-class player like Agassi did Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-3.
Playing a near-Grand-Slam final in that time, even if it's only best of three sets, is like running off a World Series game in two hours. Doesn't happen.
Sunday, it did. Agassi's serve was on its very best behavior -- eight aces and superb placement, with only one double fault. He was altogether so in charge in front of his boy and wife, aka Steffi Graf, his most strenuous exertion came just afterward when he tilted his cap to one side to keep the sun out.
Otherwise, Agassi barely raised a sweat, this geriatric freak just a month shy of age 33. He beat back everything the 26-year-old Spaniard threw at him, and Moya is no palooka. He'll be one of the favorites in the French Open in two months.
Agassi never has had and never will have an easier major-tournament final. He spent almost as much time bowing and throwing kisses to the crowd at Key Biscayne as he did dusting off Moya.
This NASDAQ-100 will be played a week later next year, starting March 24, and goes back to best-of-5 for the final. It cannot be this lopsided.
''He didn't give me any chance,'' Moya said in the perfect summation.
Agassi tried hard not to seem too cocksure afterward. It must have been difficult. He's in a zone after winning the latest Australian Open and his third Key Biscayne event in a row.
Sort of a double hat trick. Agassi gets permanent possession of Butch Buchholz, and he's duly appreciative.
''I've been been blessed with a body that's holding up,'' he said, ``and I'm still eager and . . . moving well.''
Moya slammed in a 115 mph serve with Agassi up 30-0 at 3-all in the second set. Agassi snapped it back with that magnificently compact return stroke, but Moya went up and blazed a forehand crosscourt. Agassi reached it in two huge bounds and slapped his own forehand past Moya.
The Spaniard just looked stunned. Probably, so did the droves of pedestrians who got to see it on the huge NASDAQ video screen in New York's Times Square.
If they looked fast.
Meanwhile, back in the stands on the island paradise that used to be a garbage dump, mop-top Jaden Agassi appeared altogether unimpressed. Toward the end of Daddy's show, Jaden looked up at Mom like he was about to let out a yelp and took a swipe at his bottle of juice.
Great little forehand.
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