Pete's Open tears wash over Courier
by Dennis Passa, AP
January 25, 1995
Pete Sampras, recovering from a two-set deficit and crying openly on court in one of the most unusual and emotional scenes ever witnessed in tennis, hung on for a stirring five-set win over Jim Courier at the Australian Open championship.
Sampras began sobbing into his towel during the changeover after winning the first game of the final set. Throwing ice water on to his face in an effort to hide the tears, he was able to compose himself before returning to the court.
There were television reports that a spectator in the crowd, at the beginning of the fifth set, yelled: 'Do it for your coach', in reference to the illness suffered by Tim Gullikson.
Gullikson, who has had two strokes in the past three months, left for the United States yesterday after again becoming ill during the tournament and having to be hospitalised.
Sampras appeared to be composed after the changeover, but moments later, he again began crying and during one service game, blasted two aces past Courier in between wiping the tears away.
Sampras, who won 6-7 (4-7), 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, had beaten Courier in 10 of 13 previous meetings. He now plays Michael Chang in the semi-finals tomorrow.
In the fourth set, Sampras broke Courier's serve in the 10th game when Courier slammed an easy overhead smash well outside the court.
The pair stayed on serve through the first 12 games of the opening set, forcing a tiebreaker, where they scored points on their serve to 3-3.
Sampras double-faulted to allow Courier to take a 4-3 lead, then Courier held on his next serve to go up 5-3. The next point had to be replayed when a linesman ruled that a Courier shot was wide and the chair umpire over-ruled. Courier won the set when a Sampras backhand went into the net.
The two also held service in the second set, forcing another tiebreaker that Courier won after going up 3-0 and watching a Sampras backhand go into the net on set point.
Sampras came fighting back in the third set, breaking Courier in the third and ninth games.
Earlier, Chang admitted that players often exploit injuries to their opponents. But he was reluctant to talk too much about one he may have sustained himself.
'Jim and Pete read papers,' Chang smiled when asked about an upper thigh injury he suffered during his 7-6 (9-7), 7-5, 6-3 quarter-final win over Andrei Medvedev.
Medvedev injured his left wrist while lunging for a Chang forehand passing shot that gave the American a 5-3 lead in the first-set tiebreaker.
Conchita Martinez, playing with the same determination that brought her last year's Wimbledon singles title, moved a step closer to another Grand Slam championship.
Martinez, the second seed, beat American Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the semi-finals against Mary Pierce, who advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Natasha Zvereva.