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Agassi tests wrist in Germany

Andre Agassi, defending champion of Wimbledon, has vowed to return to the scene of his greatest career triumph to attempt to defend his only Grand Slam crown.

Agassi, who defeated Goran Ivanisevic in a five-set final, expects to begin his title defense Sunday despite being unable, as recently as last Monday, to hit his favorite stroke, the forehand blast, because of pain in his right wrist.

But after a nocturnal workout in Las Vegas Saturday, Agassi pronounced himself fit to return to competition, which he'll do today at a Wimbledon tuneup in Halle, Germany. The strenuous practice session, his first since April, served as a test vehicle to determine the effectiveness of a cortisone injection Agassi received directly into his wrist at the Seattle offices of Dr. Edward Almquist last Monday.

"The pain is the indicator, and if the cortisone worked, I shouldn't have any pain, and right now the wrist feels good for the first time I can remember," Agassi said. "Now the decision comes down to me, to try and get through one or two rounds in Germany and see if the wrist can handle the big punishment _ it's an all-or-nothing thing."

Agassi, whose right-wrist soreness began at the end of January and worsened last month, forcing him to withdraw from the French Open, added: "It would be arrogant of me to go back to Wimbledon and expect to repeat, but that doesn't mean I don't want to try more than anything in the world."

Stich wins Queen's Club

LONDON _ Michael Stich showed how dull winning on grass courts can be Sunday as he beat Wayne Ferreira 6-3, 6-4 to win the Queen's Club championship. Stich, the sixth seed, served up seven aces in beating the defending champion and claiming the $86,000 winner's check in the warm-up for Wimbledon. The 57-minute victory was the fastest in the tournament's 14-year history.

Elsewhere

Edgbaston: Lori McNeil lost a set for the first time all week but rallied to beat fellow American Zina Garrison-Jackson 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the championship of the women's grass-court tournament at Birmingham, England. McNeil, seeded fifth, earned a berth in the final earlier in the day with a 7-5, 6-1 victory against Larisa Neiland. Garrison-Jackson, the fourth seed, advanced by beating Chanda Rubin 6-1, 6-2.

Continental Grass Court: Arnaud Boetsch beat Wally Masur 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match in Rosmalen, Netherlands. Boetsch, the eighth seed and 29th-ranked player in the world, earned his first ATP tournament victory and became the first Frenchman to win a grass-court event since Henri Leconte in Sydney in 1985. Before the final, Masur beat third-seeded MaliVai Washington 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in the completion of a rain-delayed semifinal.

City of Florence ATP: Thomas Muster defeated Jordi Burillo 6-1, 7-5 to win the clay-court tournament in Italy for the third consecutive year.

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