Henman, Safin, Coria clinch trips to Houston

PARIS -- Andre Agassi and David Nalbandian both pulled out
of the Paris Masters on Monday, meaning neither will play in the
season-ending Masters Cup.
Agassi, 34, cited a problem with his right hip. Argentina's
Nalbandian did not give a reason, although he had said Sunday that
a knee he injured at the Swiss Indoors in Basel likely would rule
him out.
The Masters Cup begins in Houston on Nov. 15, with only eight
players selected from the ongoing ATP race. Agassi was in eighth
spot in the race and Nalbandian was in ninth, but neither had clinched a berth because Gaston Gaudio, who is 10th, qualifies because he won the French Open this year.
The withdrawals mean Britain's Tim Henman, Russian Marat Safin
and Argentine Guillermo Coria are guaranteed to take part in the
Masters Cup no matter what their results in Paris.
The other four players are: Roger Federer, Andy
Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Carlos Moya.
The Paris Masters, meanwhile, has been hit by a spate of
withdrawals. World No. 1 Federer, 2003 French Open winner Juan
Carlos Ferrero and Coria all previously withdrew.
"The list of absentees is already too long," organizers said
in a statement. "Whatever the reasons, this discredits an elite
ATP tournament like this and the ATP in general."
The directors of the Masters series tournaments held in Europe --
others are in Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg and Madrid -- are scheduled
to meet Tuesday in Paris to discuss the escalating problem of top
players pulling out.
Agassi is replaced by Romanian Victor Hanescu, while Italian
Davide Sanguinetti takes Nalbandian's slot. Play began Monday, and
the tournament, won by Henman last year, ends Sunday.