Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sampras inducted in tennis hall

Loss to Edberg in 1992 served as wake-up call for legend

July 15, 2007

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— Despite 14 Grand Slam titles, it's a loss in the 1992 U.S. Open final that sticks with Pete Sampras.

"That's always the first match that comes to my mind," said Sampras, who recalled the turning point in his career Saturday before his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, along with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Sven Davidson and photographer Russ Adams.

After splitting the first two sets in the 1992 U.S. Open final, Sampras led 5-4 in the third against 2004 Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg before he double faulted on the first and last points of the game, eventually losing the set in a tiebreaker.

Sampras said he gave up in the fourth set and ended up losing, 6-2.

"It changed my whole mentality, when I kind of gave up in that fourth set," he said. "I just promised myself I would never let that happen again."

He became the career leader with 14 Grand Slam singles titles that included seven Wimbledons, five U.S. Opens and two Australian Opens. Sampras was No. 1 in the world for a record 286 weeks, 102 straight from April 15, 1996, to March 30, 1998.

"My goal was to finish the year No. 1," Sampras said. "When each January started, it was, 'What do I need to do to be No. 1?"'

Sampras, 35, was known for his powerful serve and overhead smash. He captured his first U.S. Open at 19, the youngest man to win that title. He won his last major at the U.S. Open in 2002, joining Ken Rosewall as the only players in history to win Grand Slam events in their teens, 20s and 30s.

Sanchez-Vicario, a member of Spain's five Fed Cup winning teams, won three Grand Slam singles titles, including the French Open in 1989. The 79-year-old Davidson was the first Swede to win a Grand Slam event, winning at Roland Garros in 1957 after losing in the French final in 1955 and '56.

No. 4 seed Santoro rolls

Newport, R.I. - Fourth seeded Fabrice Santoro defeated Wesley Moodie, 7-6 (2), 6-3, Saturday to set up the first all-French final in the 31-year history of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Santoro will face No. 5 seed Nicolas Mahut, who beat Dick Norman, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2, in the opening semifinal earlier Saturday.

Venus earns Fed Cup victory

Stowe, Vt. - One week after winning her fourth Wimbledon title, Venus Williams defeated Nadia Petrova in the semifinals, 7-6, 0-6, 6-4, on Saturday to tie the Fed Cup match between the United States and Russia at 1.

Earlier Saturday, Anna Chakvetadze gave Russia a lead by dominating Vania King, 6-1, 6-3.

Williams will play Chakvetadze, and U.S. Capt. Zina Garrison said she is leaning toward sending Meilen Tu against Petrova in the reverse singles today. If necessary, a deciding doubles match will follow.

The winner meets the winner of the other semifinals between Italy and France for the championship in September.

Ferrer, Almagro advance

Bastad, Sweden - Nicolas Almagro will play David Ferrer in the Swedish Open final today in an all-Spanish matchup. In Saturday's semifinals, Almagro beat fourth-seeded Carlos Moya, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, and Ferrer routed Filippo Volandri of Italy, 6-2, 6-1.

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