WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Patrick Rafter overcame the blistering returns and passing shots of Andre Agassi to win in five sets Friday and become the first Australian to reach the men's final at Wimbledon in 13 years.
Rafter played a masterful grass-court match, mixing his acrobatic serve-and-volley game with off-speed shots to dismantle Agassi 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in 3 hours, 18 minutes.
Rafter is the first Aussie in the Wimbledon final since Pat Cash, who won the title in 1987. In Sunday's championship match, he'll meet the winner of the semifinal between six-time champion Pete Sampras and qualifier Vladimir Voltchkov.
Rafter's victory marked a dramatic return from the shoulder surgery in October which kept him out of the game for five months. Earlier this year, he suggested he was considering retirement.
Friday's match was a mirror of last year's semifinal, won by Agassi in straight sets.
The high-quality match provided a classic contrast between Agassi, the consummate returner and counter-puncher, and Rafter, the serve-and-volley specialist. Rafter chipped and charged on Agassi's second serves. In baseline rallies, he relied on a soft, slice backhand to rob Agassi of the pace.
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