Agassi faces Malisse Monday

July 24, 2006 12:38 PM
L.A. Countrywide Classic Lead 373x280
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - Andre Agassi hopes to avoid a short stay at the Countrywide Classic this week. The fans are hoping for the same thing.

The long-time crowd favorite and four-time champion of the $500,000 hardcourt tournament, Agassi will be playing here for the 11th and final time.

The 36-year-old American, who is retiring after the U.S. Open, is seeded fifth and takes on Belgian Xavier Malisse in the first round Monday. Agassi beat Gilles Muller in the final last year for his 60th tournament title, and he has not won an event since.

Agassi is just 6-5 this year and has not played since losing to eventual finalist Rafael Nadal in the third round at Wimbledon.

The highest seed in action Monday is No. 3 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, who faces Luxembourg native Muller.

Andy Roddick accepted a wild card on Friday and is the top seed at this U.S. Open warmup event. Roddick, who begins with South African Rik De Voest, has not won an event this year but lost to James Blake in a third-set tiebreaker at Indianapolis on Sunday.