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Sampras tops gilbert in volvo/LA final

August 5, 1991

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (UPI) -- Second-seeded Pete Sampras captured his first title of the year with a 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 victory over fourth- seeded Brad Gilbert Sunday in the final of the $225,000 Volvo/Tennis Los Angeles.

Sampras, ranked No. 9 in the world, collected a first prize check of $32,400. Gilbert, still looking for his first title of the year, pocketed $19,090 for his second runnerup finish.

Sampras and Gilbert split the first two sets. Sampras used a pair of service breaks in the first set. Gilbert took the second set, winning the final two points of the tiebreaker to even the match.

Sampras gained the upper hand in the final set. He got the lone but decisive service break in the fourth game and carried a 5-2 lead before serving out the 2-hour 12-minute victory.

"Right now my confidence is high leaving LA without having lost a match,'' said Sampras.  "With a big match coming up, (ATP Thriftway Championships), my confidence is high.''

Sampras said in the second set he suffered from a concentration lapse and the crowd gave Gilbert momentum.

"It's difficult to maintain the same level of concentration for an entire match. It maybe caused by a lack of maturity and experience.'' Although he fired in nine aces to Gilbert's 10, Sampras stayed back due to his subpar serving (45 percent). Despite his overall low serving percentage, Sampras won 90 percent (35 of 39) of the first serves he connected on.

Gilbert was never able to break through in the final set.

Sampras, who vaulted into the spotlight with his U.S. Open victory at Flushing Meadows last September, is preparing to defend the championsip which begins later this month.

"I'm not going to worry about being the defending champion, but I'll go about it like I did last year--one opponent at a time.''

"You're only as good as your last match,'' said the veteran Gilbert.  "Still it was good to beat (Stefan) Edberg. Sampras didn't roll over.

''I played a lot better at the end of the second set. Sampras hits the ball hard and serves big, so I was not able to work the points, so I had to try something different."

Gilbert was impressed with Sampras' game, especially his big serve.   "You have to commit early because it's a hard serve to read since he hits it quickly for a right-hander. He cranks it up the middle. There's a lot of good kick on Sampras' second serve.''


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