Neither Andre Agassi nor a quick hard court could stop Rafael Nadal.
The 19-year-old Spaniard won on a hard court for the first time, beating the 35-year-old Agassi, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, in the Rogers Cup final yesterday in Montreal.
The French Open champ's left-handed shotmaking got the better of Agassi, who was missing the lines with his winners in a baseline battle interrupted 58 minutes after the first set by rain.
It was the top-seed's third victory in a row and his ATP-tour-leading ninth tournament win of the year. His eight previous wins, including the French Open, were on slower clay courts.
"I don't want to think about it because I always want to stay the same," Nadal said of his breakthrough season. "I only want to think about next week."
It was the first meeting between Nadal, considered the sport's next superstar, and Agassi, who has won 60 tournaments, including eight grand slams and three wins in the Canadian event, in his 19-year career.
"It's easy to see why he's won so many matches," said Agassi. "He's just a great mover on the court and he gets good power from stretched positions, so you're never sure if you have control of a point."
Later yesterday, Agassi withdrew from the Masters Series Cincinnati, which begins today. . . .
Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia upset top-seeded Anastasia Myskina, 7-5, 6-2, to claim her second WTA title of the year at the Nordic Light Open.
Myskina saved three match points in the final game before hitting a baseline forehand into the net to give Srebotnik the victory at Stockholm's Olympic Stadium. . . .
Kim Clijsters won her WTA Tour-leading fifth title of the year, defeating Daniela Hantuchova, 6-4, 6-1, in the JPMorgan Chase Open final in Carson, Calif.
* BASKETBALL: Duke guard J.J. Redick scored 22 points to lead the United States, 111-85, over Argentina for fifth place at the under-21 world championships in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Meantime, Lithuania became the first European team to win the gold, defeating Greece, 65-63.
Wake Forest's Justin Gray notched 16 points as the U.S. finished 7-1 in the round robin tournament. But while a reenergized U.S. squad looked like championship material against Argentina, its chances of successfully defending its 2001 title were spoiled by Canada in a quarterfinal, 93-90 overtime loss Friday.
* SOCCER: Youri Djorkaeff's shot deflected off a defender and into the goal in the 66th minute to give the New York/New Jersey MetroStars a 2-1 win over the visiting Columbus Crew in a game delayed for more than an hour by severe weather.
* BOXING: It wasn't a fight that enthralled the crowd, nor was it the type of performance that will strike fear in opponents.
Regardless, Hasim Rahman did enough against Monte Barrett late Saturday night in Chicago to become the WBC's interim heavyweight champion.
Next up for Rahman is WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko.
It's a fight that was supposed to have happened already. Three times Klitschko postponed because of injuries -- which Rahman, the WBC's No. 1 contender, and promoter Don King questioned.
* YOUTH SOFTBALL: McLean's Jamie Bell shut out Poland, 4-0, in the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore.
McLean (2-1) remains in contention for a semifinal berth and will face the undefeated Philippines (3-0) in its last pool-play game today at 2 p.m.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports