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Since 1st March, 1999
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Sheer power carries Serena
- Agassi, Mauresmo breeze into pre-quarters l Ferreira crashes out with injury

Paris: Serena Williams took just 40 minutes to thrash Barbara Schett at the French Open on Friday in a third round match that bordered on the embarrassing.

But Andre Agassi can hold his head high after a breathtaking 6-4 7-5 7-5 victory over Xavier Malisse.

While Schett provided no resistance whatsoever to the women’s top seed during a 6-0, 6-0 ordeal, an irrepressible Agassi was full of praise for his Belgian opponent afterwards.

“He is an incredibly talented player… sometimes you are watching him playing instead of watching the ball,” the men’s second seed said.

Malisse, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, played with flair and power throughout but came up against a brick wall in the form of Agassi. Swatting the ball around court, the 1999 champion never allowed Malisse — immensely talented or not — a chance.

Agassi will next face Flavio Saretta after the Brazilian Spain’s Galo Blanco retired injured with the score reading 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 2-2.

In the women’s draw Serena, despite a number of errors herself, was simply too strong for Schett in a match lacking even a modicum of subtlety or guile.

Tactics were an irrelevancy as both players struggled to find any consistency. At least when defending champion Serena’s shots landed in court they were hit with great power, a difference which won her the match with ease.

A former world number seven — and conqueror of Serena’s elder sister Venus here two years ago — Schett won just six points in the second set and 20 in the entire match. Sixteen of those came from unforced errors. In fact the Austrian hit just two winners the entire match. When a clumsy attempt at a drop-shot landed half-way up the net while facing match point she jogged to the net and smashed a ball high into the stands. Shaking her head and smiling in embarrassment she embraced Serena before heading back to the locker room, flushed and smiling shyly. Serena will next face Japan’s Ai Sugiyama after the 16th seed beat Meghann Shaughnessy of the US 6-1, 6-4. The Japanese was the first to enter the pre-quarters. While Schett’s discomfort had been evident to all on Centre Court, Wayne Ferreira’s agony was evident to anyone within hearing range of Court One.

The South African let out a chilling shriek of agony before collapsing on the court after injuring his groin during his match with 11th seed Rainer Schuettler. Ferreira had to be carried off court as Schuettler received easy passage through to a fourth round clash with Martin Verkerk.

Amelie Mauresmo thrilled her home fans with a powerful 6-3, 6-4 win over Colombian Fabiola Zuluaga to reach the fourth round. The fifth seed lined up a clash with either America’s Ashley Harkleroad or Spain’s Magui Serna.

In other matches, seventh-seeded Argentine Guillermo Coria beat Hungarian Attila Savolt 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 while countryman Mariano Zabaleta beat Morocco’s Younes El Aynaoui 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).

Fourth-seeded Spaniard Carlos Moya lost a two-set lead before battling past Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3.

In the women’s section, Hungary’s Petra Mandula beat Italy’s Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-4 while Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-3, 6-4. The petite Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium continued her flight upwards past Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar, whom she thrashed 6-1, 6-1.

Paes-Navratilova duo wins

Leander Paes and Martina Navratilova advanced to the mixed doubles pre-quarter finals on Friday, beating Australia’s Joshua Eagle and Austrian Patricia Wartusch in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 in the first round, according to information received here.

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