U.S. Open, second round
6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5
A hard-fought, memorable match, remarkable for the fact that in the end, both men were running on sheer will more than strength or stamina. The indomitability of Agassi won out so narrowly over Baghdatis's courage that it amazed even André that he pulled it out.
I tuned in during the middle of the third set, when it looked as if Agassi could still close it out in three. This hope was quickly dashed as the 21-year-old Baghdatis began to draw on his formidable reserves of youthful energy. Agassi, 36, relied on finesse and skill befitting his great experience in the fourth set, but was staved off by Baghdatis's powerful serves and precision lobs and was eventually toppled again. He came back haltingly in the fifth and final set, running neck and neck against Baghdatis until winning an epic eight-deuce game that left Baghdatis literally limping from a cramp.
The audience was left wondering whether Marcos would forfeit, but instead, he fought valiantly to the last, almost taking the match to a tie-breaker. So close it could have been anyone's match, this one will stand in history not only as what may yet be André's final tournament victory, but also a testimony to the triumph of will over physicality.
The humility and grace that both opponents displayed is a triumph of sportsmanship - something you don't see every day in tennis, or in life. That is the stuff real champions are made of.