Pete moves on to the semis at the Stella Artois
June 15, 2001
After winning 2 matches on Friday, Pete is in the semifinals of the Stella Artois Tournament at Queen's Club in London, England. His third round match yesterday against Jan Siemerink was suspended due to the rainy weather. After winning 6-3, 6-4 against Siemerink in the morning, Pete was again on the court in the afternoon to compete against Jan Michael Gambill.
Pete won against Gambill 7-6, 7-5.
Reuters reported that Pete "did just enough against fellow American Gambill, serving with power and direction and hitting his volleys crisply. The pair were inseparable in the first set but in the tiebreak Sampras stepped up a gear, taking it 7-1 with some inspired grasscourt play. He again left it to the last minute to pinch the second set, breaking in the 11th game before serving out, polishing Gambill off with an ace down the middle."
At the presscon (sorry no transcript available), Pete was jokingly asked if he was still young to play two matches on the same day. He replied, "I'm on grass."
Even the news reporter of The Times UK acknowledges Pete's brilliance on the grass courts.
"It is a privilege to see him play at any time. To see him play twice in one day was the rarest of treats because he can still find angles with his backhand volleys that are a mystery to the rest of mankind.
"He can still place a second service with deadly accuracy and can still play with a bewitching mix of power and grace on grass that makes the opposition crumble. "
Pete will play against Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinal. In the presscon, an Australian journalist had the temerity to ask Pete if he would consider himself the underdog. Pete said, "I haven’t felt like an underdog on grass since I was 18, and that won’t change tomorrow. I expect to win every match I play on grass."
"I'm not scared of anyone," he insisted. "There are a lot of good young players but no-one who really scares me. Agassi is the one guy who can beat me when I'm playing well, but with Safin and Kuerten, even though they've beaten me, I feel like the match is on my racquet. Week in week out it does get tougher but when I'm on, it's tough for guys to beat me. I just need to stay inspired and motivated and that's my challenge. I still have the tools."