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Agassi leads American advance into final 16

Third-seeded Andre Agassi advanced to the round of 16 at the ATP Championship in Mason, Ohio, by beating Arnaud Di Pasquale 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday.

The American contingent, which already included top-ranked Pete Sampras, picked up three surprise winners when Michael Chang beat eighth-seeded Alex Corretja 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2; Justin Gimelstob beat fellow American Todd Martin, the No. 9 seed, 6-4, 6-4; and Chris Woodruff beat 13th-seeded Thomas Enqvist 6-1, 7-5.

"He hasn't played much hard court," Agassi said of Di Pasquale. "He looks like he needs more time to hit his shots. It looked like I could rush him a little bit. For me, on this surface, that's good."

Chang's victory was his first over a top-10 opponent this year.

Jim Courier made a run at joining the American contingent. But 2 hours, 8 minutes into his match with Cedric Pioline, Courier retired in the third set with heat-induced leg cramps.

Defending champion Patrick Rafter played his first match of the tournament, beating Daniel Vacek 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the night session.

The Australian, who is also the two-time defending U.S. Open champion, called it a "scruffy" match but said he generally was happy with his play.

In the other evening match, 12th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer completed the field for the round of 16 by beating wild-card Paul Goldstein 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (12-10).

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: The Florida State men's team left for a seven-game, two-week barnstorming tour of Australia that it hopes is a steppingstone out of the ACC's land down under (.500). "It's certainly going to be a good experience for us," coach Steve Robinson said. "It gave us a chance to have some practice time here (first). It gives our young kids more opportunity to play. It gives the older, more experienced time to play." Shortly after taking over at Tulsa, Robinson took his team to Belgium for a preseason tour, which helped pave the way for a NCAA Tournament berth. FSU will play pro teams, the first led by Andrew Gaze. The trip also will be a homecoming for center Justin Mott, who lived in Australia for a couple of years. Major Parker of Florida scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the first half to lead the Southeastern Conference all-star team to an 88-63 victory over the Japan national team at Kobe, Japan. Senior center William Stringfellow has been declared academically ineligible to play for Houston.

TRACK AND FIELD: Marion Jones stretched her winning streak at 200 meters to 21 races by winning at the Weltlkasse meet in Zurich, Switzerland. The 23-year-old American, the only woman to run under 22 seconds this summer, was clocked in 22.10 seconds. Inger Miller was second in 22.19. Jones has not lost at 200 meters since 1997. World 200-meter champion Ato Boldon pulled out of the meet because of a lingering hamstring injury and ruled himself out of the World Championships later this month. World-record holder Maurice Greene of the United States won the last major 100-meter race before the World Championships in 9.99, his fifth straight.

SOFTBALL: Christy Hebert singled home Megumi Takasaki with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to give the Carolina Diamonds a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay FireStix in the first game of an eight-game weekend series in Gastonia, N.C. Tampa Bay pitcher DeeDee Weiman-Garcia (14-8) allowed 10 hits and two earned runs. The FireStix have a one-game lead over Virginia for first place in the Women's Pro Softball League.

CYCLING: A worker at the Tour of Galicia in Ourense, Spain, died a day after being knocked down by a cyclist he was trying to alert to an upcoming obstacle. Jesus Presa Garcia, 40, was warning cyclists of a car parked in the road when he was hit by Denis Zanetti of Italy. Presa's head hit the ground and he was knocked unconscious. The tour's third leg was run as a non-competitive race in deference to Presa, and about $58,000 was taken out of the prize money for Presa's family.

_ BRIAN LANDMAN, TIMES WIRES

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