Favorite Pete Sampras Match
US Open Quarter-Final 2001
Pete defeated Agassi 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6
Elle: Before the match began, myself and Csilla decided to stay by the players entrance to catch a glimpse of Pete. We saw Agassi practice and as he was walking right by us, we screamed, "Let's go Pete" really loud. There were at least 50 fans of Pete and everyone cheered "Let's go Pete". Agassi simply put his head down and walked away. We had so much fun by doing that.
We saw some celebrities. I said hello to most of them and asked them to cheer for Pete. They were smiling at us. Some of the celebrities we saw were: Donald Trump his gal pal, Star Jones, Robin Givens, Venus Williams and her mom, Cliff Drysdale and Gore's lawyer, Bill Daly. It was some sight.
We ran into Zabaleta (who just lost to Safin) and I asked him, 'Hey, why didn't you take care of Safin?' he responded, 'Safin killed me'. And I told him 'Don't worry, Pete will destroy Safin.'
Csilla: I'm just so glad I could go & share it with Elle & Deb.
Before he played Rafter I kept telling myself if he gets through I'd love to go for the QF, but wouldn't have dared to risk it because it had to be sold out. And then Elle tells me she's got a ticket & I was like I have to, what a chance, so I hopped on the bus Wednesady morning.
It was a long trip there and back but it was worth every minute. It was funny when the immigration guy asked how long I'd stay in the US and when I said I'd come back next morning he asked then why I was going. I said to the US Open, and he asked who is playing. On the way back the Canadian guy asked at least twice: 'Did you really go just to see the US Open?' I know, I'm certifiable!
Elle described the experience at the players' entrance quite well: we saw Pete in his white shirt, blue shorts & sunglasses (quite a varied wardrobe he's got).
I have to tell you, Elle is quite a handful, she recognizes a bunch of celebrities I never heard of and she talks to them. She earned a "Hi Baby" from Cliff Drysdale and told Venus to root for Pete and she said 'OK'. It was so much fun.
The match was incredible. Poor Elle really wanted to persuade me to eat something but I really didn't want to risk my stomach. Had a beer though. We were quite nervous, but Deb was the statute of calm out there she said "He's gonna win" though sometimes I wondered how it was going to happen. And I totally lost my voice in all the screaming and cheering.
I almost dropped dead when he lost that TB after 3 setpoints. I was so scared that it would be Indian Wells final all over again where he had all those lost chances. Another loss (4th in a row) to Agassi would've been unbearable. Especially after I heard so many times how Agassi wasn't going to lose another match to Pete anymore.
At that moment Pete did get down on himself a little bit, I shouted once "C'mon Pete, you wanna win it or what" - maybe he gets mad. Don't know if he heard though. But it was amazing how incredibly tough Pete is & how much he wanted it. He served and volleyed very well, especially second serves were great.
I wasn't that thrilled with his return though: I did think he should've come in more often, sure few times he did he got mostly passed, but still: can AA pass him consistently? I mean, trying to beat AA from the baseline is not the best winning proposition, though shouldn't be nitpicking, he won. Only he really needs to return well against Safin.
By the 4th set there was a distinct difference between Pete and Agassi camps in our section: you could guess who won the point from the sound of cheers. And there was a guy next to us who after hearing me saying that "Pete has a perfect record at night let him keep it" said "The guy in black is pretty good at night too". And I: "Yeah, but he doesn't have a perfect record, so if he loses it won't spoil it." Mean I was, very mean...
In the 4th set tie-break, I was going out of my mind. So scared that if
he loses it could be Australian Open 2000 again. Don't you love it from
his PC: "And I showed a little bit of nerves there at 6-4 in the breaker.
I was like standing at that line, I'm like, "I don't know where this
is going." Went right in the net (laughter)." He's so funny.)
But when it was over we really jumped up and
cheered & after the interview we shouted "We love you Pete!!!"
When we were waiting for Pete after the match with the banner, John McEnroe came and Elle shouted to his face "Pete's the man!"
And then Pete came & he went right by me & I said "Now win it all, Pete" and he looked at me and had that expression on his face I'm still searching for words to describe. But after that and for a long time afterwards I was busy melting.
Elle: I shouted ' Congratulations Pete, # 14 is yours' as Pete and Bridgette were walking together to a waiting car. Bridgette stopped right by me. She is such a down right down-to-earth girl. She said "Yeah, Samprasfanz, cool" and she was doing the fist pumps and jumping up and down. She was way cool. Now, I know why Pete got hooked up with her. She is very sweet. I mean she should've got into that waiting car with Pete. But she took her time and she recognized us and gave us 2 big thumbs up.
Csilla: We clapped when he left, there were so many fans of his & people helped us to hold the banner, it was unreal.
Well, I can't believe that he had these 2 incredible matches & is still in the semis only. This is a draw the Devil himself put together & of course I'm terribly nervous about tomorrow. But Wednesday night was one for the ages.