Sampras Routs Sargsian to Reach Quarter Finals
August 3 2000
TORONTO - Wimbledon Champion Pete Sampras is on course to reach number one in the ATP Tour Champions Race, having reached the Quarter Finals of the Tennis Masters Series – Canada. His third-round match against Sargis Sargsian proved easier than the two previous rounds. The Armenian was no match for the seven-time Wimbledon Champion, who dismissed his opponent in strait sets for 6-1, 6-2.
In his first round match Sampras was taken to a third-set tiebreaker by Michael Llodra, but the Grand Slam master hardly broke sweat as he raced to take the first set from Sargsian after only 32 minutes. The second set went the same way. The capacity crowd on Centre Court were delighted to watch Sampras give his opponent what amounted to a tennis lesson, coming to the net at will and serving and volleying as only he at his best can. Sargsian was reduced to frustrated rage. After Sampras won the first point of the second set by volleying the Armenian’s attempt at a passing shot into an open court, Sargsian flung down his racket in disgust.
“It was nice to go out and play well and dominate early on,” said Sampras. “Sargis is the type of player who will let you play and I was able to get into a good rhythm.”
He joins the only other seed in the top five left, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, to advance to the Quarters. After his convincing display against Sargsian, Sampras looks ready to go on and take the title.
“I just feel like everything is in place,” said Sampras. “I’ve gone through some tough matches and I feel my game is starting to come around. I really didn’t expect to come here playing great from my first match on, but I got through it. It’s the tougher matches that separate the top players from the rest, when you’re not playing well to be able to get through those tough matches.”
No-one knows that better than the only man to have won thirteen Grand Slam titles.
There have been several upsets in the tournament so far, with Magnus Norman and Gustavo Kuerten succumbing to early defeats. These two are numbers one and two, respectively, in the ATP Tour Champions Race. If Sampras goes on to win the tournament he will displace both of them at the top of the Race. His chances of this are enhanced by his old adversary Andre Agassi also having departed, with a shocking defeat at the hands of unseeded Frenchman Jerome Golmard in the first round.
The winner of the event will be $400,000 richer, but this would be hardly more than loose change to a man who has won more than $42,000,000 in prize money alone. For Pete Sampras, it’s the prize he wants, not the money.
Sources: Associated Press, Sports Network