It’s on.

Those who fantasize about history’s great athletes facing the best of the present should watch the U.S. Open quarterfinals (USA network, right now). Top-ranked Roger Federer, tennis’s virtuoso emergent, meets perpetually resurgent Andre Agassi, playing his nineteenth straight year in Flushing Meadows. The Nosferatu-like Agassi, after all, is the sport’s past living in its present, having started during the days of McEnroe and Connors, and played through the eras of Lendl, Becker, Edberg, and Sampras. The dude abides. If, however, you think ponytailed youth will inevitably defeat bald wisdom, don’t be so sure. Two years ago, a thirty-two year-old Agassi faced the dominant number one and defending U.S. Open champion, twenty-one year-old Lleyton Hewitt, in the semifinals here. Agassi swept Hewitt off the court in an exhilarating display of precise hitting. Tonight, Roger may be rusty, having had four days off due to an opponent’s default. Agassi, famously a fast starter, might well hammer his way to an early lead. Whether he can weather the ensuing barrage Federer is likely to rain upon him should produce some captivating drama.