Sampras plays at 'pretty high level' vs. McEnroe
May 6, 2007
BOSTON (AP) - Pete Sampras advanced to the final in his first competitive tournament start in nearly five years, beating John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday night in the Champions Cup.
�I hit the ball better today than I did in my prime because of the bigger racket,� Sampras said. �I think I can still play at a pretty high level. I can probably compete against anyone in the world today just one match, two sets.�
After double-faulting in the opening game, Sampras rebounded to win the first three games of the first set. He never trailed in the second set, and took the lead for good after breaking to go up 2-1. The 35-year-old Sampras had six aces, and kept McEnroe off guard with an array of well-placed baseline shots.
�The guy hit the outside of the line like 20 times. It was unbelievable,� McEnroe said. �It�s incredible how many lines he hits. It�s unbelievable � I�ve never played a guy who can consistently do that.�
Sampras will face defending Champions Cup champion Todd Martin, who advanced to the final with a 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 (tiebreaker) win over Jim Courier.
Sampras owns an 18-4 career record against Martin, including a win in the final of the 1994 Australian Open. They haven�t played since 2002.
�I�ll have a chance if I play like I did tonight,� Martin said. �I would like to have more than a chance. In order to that, I won�t be able to let my serve wane at all in the middle of the match.�
Sampras, who will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July, says he didn�t touch a racket for nearly three years before picking up the sport again last summer to get in better shape.