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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-07-2006, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

April 7, 2006, 1:40AM
RIVER OAKS INTERNATIONAL
Everyone goes home pleased but Sampras
Tennis legend sought good result, not exhibition loss


By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Pete Sampras tried to sneak around the back way, hitting partner Hugo Armando in tow, to get in a short warmup on a far back court before his first competitive tennis match since he won the 2002 U.S. Open.

But word spread quickly on the River Oaks grounds. Soon, nearly 100 curious fans lined the court, snapping pictures or paying quiet homage to one of the greatest tennis players.


Errant backhands

Those who paid attention to Sampras' gentle practice strokes, though, probably noticed something startling. The 14-time Grand Slam champion couldn't put a backhand in play. Topspin or slice, they sailed long. Some way long.

"I'm using the bigger racket now — more power but less control," Sampras said later, after he lost to Robby Ginepri 6-3, 7-6 (10) in an entertaining exhibition Thursday night that lasted nearly two hours and marked his return to the competitive arena after a 3 1/2 -year hiatus.

"I felt OK out there, pretty good but definitely not great," he said. "The thing is, I don't care if I'm 34 and haven't played in awhile, you want to play well and put on a good show for the fans."

Which he did before a lively, appreciative sellout crowd. Sampras did plenty to remind people how good he used to be but not enough to satisfy himself. The competitor in him expected a win, never mind that in Ginepri, 11 years his junior, he was playing the No. 1 seed in the River Oaks International. Or at least Ginepri was before Vasilis Mazarakis upset him.

"I was a little shaky at the start and a little winded at the end," Sampras said. "Actually playing, with people watching, is a lot different from practicing."


Quarterfinals set

Overshadowed by Sampras' return were River Oaks' main-draw matches, which set up today's quarterfinals. Four seeds advanced in straight sets.

The third-seeded Peruvian, Luis Horna, who won his first ATP title last month in Acapulco, survived a hard-fought first first set to defeat former U.S. national junior champion Scoville Jenkins 7-6 (5), 6-3. Fifth seed Juan Monaco of Argentina ended qualifier Dusan Vemic's run 6-4, 6-2.

Sixth-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria beat countryman Stefan Koubek 6-3, 6-2. And eighth seed Vince Spadea took out 16-year-old Donald Young Jr. 6-1, 6-3, coming back from a break down in the second set.

dale.robertson@chron.com
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-07-2006, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Ginepri gets upper hand but Sampras shines

New York, Apr 07: Pete Sampras slipped tentatively back into the tennis spotlight on Thursday (April 6) in an exhibition match against AmPete Sampras slipped tentatively back into the tennis spotlight on Thursday (April 6) in an exhibition match against American Robby Ginepri in Houston,Texas. erican Robby Ginepri in Houston,Texas.

Ginepri won 6-3,7-6 (11-10) but the seven times Wimbledon champion showed flashes of his former brilliance fighting back to a tie break in the second set.

Sampras insists he is not coming back to the ATP Tour but has missed the game after his win and retirement at the 2002 U.S. Open. Later this summer, Sampras is scheduled to play about six matches for the Newport Beach (Calif.) Breakers of the World TeamTennis league.

Sampras has been looking to ease his way back into the sport after realising that retirement was not idyllic as imagined. He cut his golf handicap to 5, spends time with his wife and two sons, and occasionally makes poker trips to Las Vegas with friends.

Sampras showed a great deal of enthusiasm when asked about the possibility of playing a charity match against Roger Federer, the Swiss champion who has the potential of eclipsing the Sampras legacy.

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-07-2006, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Posted on April 06, 2006


Sampras Loses in Exo Comeback, USTA Wins

By Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com Senior Writer


The United States Tennis Association says its mission is "to promote and develop the growth of tennis," and the USTA lived up to that creed Thursday night with a "first-ever live webcast of a professional tennis match" with Pete Sampras returning after a 3-1/2 year hiatus to play an exhibition against 23-year-old American Robby Ginepri.






"I'm going to try and run him, take the legs and breath out of him," said Ginepri with a smile in a pre-match interview.

While Ginepri was smiling, Sampras gained confidence with the knowledge that Ginepri had been eliminated from the River Oaks draw earlier in the day, winning only three games off of unheralded Greek Vasilis Mazarakis.

Playing with the "Roger Federer racquet" as Sampras called it, the Wilson nCode, the record six-time year-end No. 1 rued the slow red clay in River Oaks during a 6-3, 7-6(10) loss to the No. 19-ranked American.

But the story was as much internet innovation as the return of a legend.

The broadcast's technical presentation, as expected with a first-time event, was shaky. And the on-air talent tripped beginning with the first interview of River Oaks Tournament Director Van Berry by John Granado, who had a Freudian slip calling Berry "the guy who bought -- uh, brought (Sampras) out of retirement." On the technical side the pull-back camera-shot during rallies appeared as if you were watching the match from the Goodyear blimp, and there was a perpetually-dark cloud in the lower left bottom of the picture.

The producers keyed a commercial during the first changeover of the match, but after it ran over into the second game of the match, the commercials were abandoned until 5-2.

To nit-pick, the graphics were suspect, with one showing Sampras at No. 2 in US Open titles behind Richard Sears, who played in the pre-Open Era (before 1968) when the Slams were filled with amateur players. The USTA is an arm of the International Tennis Federeration, which likes to pretend all tennis has been of the same level since the 1800s.

Tennis-wise it was as if River Oaks organizers set up a lose-lose situation for Sampras, whose classic aggressive game was nullified by the slow dirt. The 34-year-old American's second serve, which during his career gave him the opportunity to steal an ace or sneak in to the net, instead sat up like t-ball practice for Ginepri. Sampras showed he could still crack the forehand, but the muddy red dirt combined with Ginepri's quickness cut down on Sampras' winners.

Ginepri broke for 3-1 in the first, a fact which escaped the announcers who babbled on about the humidity and Sampras' fitness level, then ran to a 4-1 lead and a 6-3 win in the opener. A frequent feature of the first set was Sampras running side-to-side and up-and-back, then smiling with his hands on his hips after Ginepri finally put the ball away.

Talkative tour pro Paul Goldstein joined the booth announcers as Sampras held to begin the second set, and until Sampras held for a 4-3 lead, with Goldstein's mike going out for 30 seconds and sounding like they had locked him in a closet.

Ginepri went into "Exhibition Mode" in the second set, going for more short angles and cutesy passing shots to keep things close, but at 4-all with Sampras serving, Ginepri flicked the switch. Or tried to.

At 4-4, 15-all, Sampras came in behind what would have been in his heyday on hardcourts the moneymaker-serve down the middle, but it sat up on the dirt, and Ginepri flicked a backhand return down the line for a winner. A blown sitter volley and a passing shot later, Sampras was broken, but then broke back after fighting off a match point to even the set at 5-5.

Sampras amped up his serve in the 11th game, delivering an ace to earn a seat on the sidelines where he smiled at the opportunity to, if not win the set, simply catch his breath.

If Ginepri shifted down to fourth gear in the second set, he was having trouble finding fifth gear again, and after holding serve found himself down 2-4 in the tiebreak. The young American missed an easy match point volley at 9-8 in the breaker, failed to close it out again at 10-9, but then slapped a clay-slowed Sampras serve for a winner for an 11-10 lead, and won when Sampras netted the next service return.

"Actually I was a little bit winded at the end," Sampras understated after the match. "Second set I felt like I played a little bit better and served a little bit better. I didn't know what to expect. I was a little shaky and missing shots, I don't know if it was nerves or a little bit of rust. I had chances to win the second set but it didn't happen. I though I played pretty good, I didn't play great, I didn't play horrible...my main goal coming here was to have some fun for the people and I think we did that tonight."

Sampras was the people's champ in the end, showing flashes of brilliance amidst some huffing and puffing on the worst possible surface for a return to the spotlight.

But the biggest winner Thursday night was the USTA. The organization that has helped give U.S. tennis a shot in the arm over the past two years with the US Open Series blazed a new path with the first live webcast to fans around the world, featuring the "comeback" of the greatest player the game of tennis has known to date.

And as one Tennis-X staffer noted, "The webcast picture was better than when ESPN used to show Hamburg a few years back -- you could actually see the ball! I was waiting for the (USTA) server crash, and it never came."

Kudos to the USTA (with technical help from IMG) for, warts and all, truly bringing tennis into the 21st century. Now who will pay for the ATP's tennis broadband service of canned media clips when the USTA is dishing the real thing -- giving fans actual live tennis on the internet -- for free? The USTA has raised the bar.

Richard Vach is a senior writer for Tennis-X.com, was recently awarded "Best Hard News" story writer for 2005 by the United States Tennis Writers Association, and can currently be seen on The Tennis Channel's "Tennis Insiders: Super Insiders" episodes.
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Do you have any photos from this match?
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg-Pete fan
Do you have any photos from this match?

I cant find any, at all.
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

thanks a lot angiel for thereport,i knewpete would hate losing

actually what is the puropse of this exhibition

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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

It is a picture from this match against Ginepri I`ll try to find more
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File Type: jpg Pete Sampras 2006.JPG (101.8 KB, 6 views)
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimi
thanks a lot angiel for thereport,i knewpete would hate losing

actually what is the puropse of this exhibition

To ease him back into the game, remember he will be playing World Team Tennis later this summer, so games like this will help him get match fit, the more he plays the better for him you know.

Plus he help this tournament make some money, is appreance alone help Houston & the USTA.
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg-Pete fan
It is a picture from this match against Ginepri I`ll try to find more

Thanks Greg, it help but it is not clear at all.
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Here is some photos.







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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

www.usta.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=320262
Here you can see interviews before the match and the match itself between Pete an Robby. Enjoy if you haven't seen it yet!

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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

pics are few from the match
what a shame

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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Quote:
Originally Posted by almouchie
pics are few from the match
what a shame

i say so too, there must be more photos from that match he will be play another match in October, for the victims of hurrican Katerina, hope we get some more new pictures soon.
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pammy
www.usta.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=320262
Here you can see interviews before the match and the match itself between Pete an Robby. Enjoy if you haven't seen it yet!

Sorry Pammy, your page is lost, can you post it again, thanks.
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Re: FeedBacks From The Match (6th, April 2006)

April 10, 2006, 1:21AM
ON TENNIS
Sampras' visit serves up a Slam dunk
River Oaks showcase goes so well, star might return soon


By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

River Oaks' decision to bring in Pete Sampras for a single-match exhibition paid off across the board and possibly laid the groundwork for a bigger role for the 14-time Grand Slam champion next April.

Assuming Sampras continues to play exhibition tennis — and he says he intends to — the club hopes to get him into the River Oaks International main draw in 2007. It wouldn't have been possible this year because Sampras — who lost to Robby Ginepri 6-2, 7-6 (10) — wasn't in good enough shape after 3 1/2 years away from the game.

Once he got past a sluggish, nervous start, he delivered the occasionally brilliant shot in the second set, including one of his famous leaping overhead smashes plus a reflex half-volley winner.

After the latter, Ginepri turned to the crowd and said, "Fourteen Slams — that's how he did it."

Friday, Sampras played a round of golf with tournament chairman Bill Hurt and Christopher Sarofim, Downey Bridgewater and Titus Harris III, whose businesses sponsor the International. He shot an 81 and charmed his partners for 18 holes.

"Great guy, great event, great time," Hurt said about Sampras.

The star was presented with the Ernie Langston Trophy, usually given to the player in the tournament who exhibits the best sportsmanship but occasionally presented for "lifetime achievement."

Had the Langston award not gone to Sampras, either of the finalists would have been deserving. Runner-up Juan Monaco played nine grueling, occasionally frustrating sets of tennis over the final three days of the tournament and never once lost his temper. Champion Victor Hanescu couldn't have been nicer, either, although on one point in Sunday's nearly three-hour marathon it looked like he briefly contemplated banging his racket on the ground.

Afterward, Hanescu thanked the fans, River Oaks and his hosts, David and Diane Modesett, saying the experience of coming to Houston for the first time was "very special" and he hoped to return.

Of course, a $50,000 check tends to make a guy sentimental.

David Modesett takes over as tournament chairmen next year.
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