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Sampras victorious. but not in top form

June 17, 2000

LONDON - Pete Sampras advanced to the final of the Queen's Club grass-court tournament Saturday with a less-than-convincing 7-5, 6-3 victory over Italy's Davide Sanguinetti.

A day after declaring that his grass-court game was "right where I want it to be," the six-time Wimbledon champion was far from his best, struggling to put away an unheralded opponent.

Leading 5-2 in the second set, Sampras needed eight match points over two games before finally closing out the contest with a big serve followed by a forehand volley into the open court.

Sampras served 16 aces, including three in the final game. But he acknowledged that he was far off the sparkling form he displayed in Thursday's 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow American Bob Bryan.

"I didn't play all that well," he said. "It's grass court tennis. It's a good match to get through. I'll need to serve a little bit better."

Sampras' opponent in Sunday's final will be the winner of the semifinal between sixth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia and Italy's Gianluca Pozzi.

Sampras, a first-round loser at the French Open, is looking for a major confidence boost heading into Wimbledon, which begins June 26. He'll be chasing his 13th Grand Slam tournament title, which would be a record for men.







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