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TennisAgassi holds off Martin in first round...



Agassi holds off Martin in first round of Italian Open

Andre Agassi returned to European clay yesterday for the first time since his dramatic French Open victory last year and found the slow red surface still to his liking.

Playing steady if unspectacular tennis, he held off big-serving, fellow American Todd Martin, 6-2, 7-6 (4), in the first round of the Italian Open in Rome.

Two-time Wimbledon finalist Goran Ivanisevic, a crowd favorite who had to play through qualifying to reach the main draw, made a quick exit, losing to Francisco Clavet, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

GERMAN OPEN: Alexandra Stevenson, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, beat Russia's Tatiana Panova, 6-2, 7-6 (2), to advance to the second round in Berlin. Hungary's Rita Kuti Kis knocked out the first seeded player, No. 16 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, 6-3, 6-4. No. 13 Ruxandra Dragomir of Romania beat Sarah Pitkowski of France, 7-5, 7-5.

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