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Sampras, the Rebound Ace

November 29, 2000

Lisbon, Portugal - After his comprehensive defeat by Leyton Hewitt in the first round of the Masters Cup, Pete Sampras had certainly regained his confidence to beat Alex Corretja 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.

Both players had lost their first round robin matches and it was obvious how keen they both were not to concede the first set. Sampras saved two set points but, with no break of serve, it went to a tie-breaker. This was dominated by the American, with Corretja taking only two points.

Corretja failed to break the Sampras serve but managed to stop him running away with the match. Serving at 5-6, he was at 0-40 when Sampras hit a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner which brought a delighted yell from him.

The Spaniard saved the first set point, courtesy of a long forehand from his opponent, but Sampras made no mistake with the second. After a long rally, he sent a blistering forehand down the line, to break Corretja for the only time in the match. But it was enough.

“Today I just played with a little bit more purpose, tried to come in a bit, served and volleyed very well”, he said. “[I was] just a different person, different player. It was a good one to get through.”

Sampras, the defending champion, has a 30-12 life-time record at this event. If he beats Marat Safin in the next round he will earn a place in the Semi-Final.

Source: Sports Ticker

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