Sampras Upset in World Team Cup Opener
May 21, 2000
Pete Sampras led by 6-0, 4-2 in his opening match at the World Team Cup on Sunday, but nevertheless lost to Dominik Hrbaty in three sets. Sampras, who is only just returning after a lengthy injury time-out, wa by far the better player in the first set. But his game disintegrated after a long rain break and he lost 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.
"I had the match in hand and let it slip away," said Sampras. "I lost momentum when the rain came. I did everything right in the first set. I was hitting the ball well. But I got careless, I just couldn't close the match."
Despite only needing two more games to win, Sampras let his 4-2 lead in the second set slide to 6-4 in Hrbaty's favour. Hrbaty raced to a 5-1 lead in the third, before Sampras recovered slightly, taking three games in a row. He managed to save five match points before Hrbaty finally took the match.
Sampras's defeat means the US fall 0-2 behind to Slovakia. Germany and Sweden are level at 1-1.
This was Sampras's first match after five weeks out of the game with a thigh injury. He said that the injury was not bothering him. However, he was clearly affected by the unseasonally cold and damp weather. "That it was so cold and the ball was so heavy didn't help," he explained. Although a win would have been good for his confidence, he said, he was not unduly worried about the coming weeks. "My game is there, I just need to sharpen it up more. Playing the way I was in the first set I feel I can beat anyone."
Based on Reuters