Pete to face Agassi in LA final
July 28, 2001
Agassi and Sampras will renew their 13-year rivalry for the 31st time. Agassi has won the last two meetings, both on hard courts, although he trails 17-13 in the series.
"The main thing is I'm playing well," said Sampras, who trailed 3-0 in the tiebreaker before winning the final three points. "My form has gotten better as the week's gone on." Sampras had his left thigh wrapped during warmups, but the wrap unraveled and his legs got tangled as he tried to take it off. "I was attempting to play with it on. I hate any tape on my body," he said. "I tried to do it and it felt like I was trying to play with a cast."
Sampras and Malisse took turns serving six of the first eight games at love. Tied at 4-all in the breaker, Malisse's forehand appeared to land on the sideline, but was called out. He protested to no avail. Sampras went up 5-4, then broke Malisse on the Belgian's next two serves to close out the first set. Sampras broke Malisse in the third game of the second set for a 2-1 lead, then saved three break points in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead. Sampras hit a forehand volley winner on match point.
Sampras hasn't won a title in 14 tournaments, the longest he's gone without a trophy since winning his first ATP title in his 34th event in 1990. "I wouldn't consider it a drought," he said. "It's been a disappointing year, but I can turn it around very quickly in the next four weeks."
Sampras had an extra reason to smile. He became an uncle for the first time Saturday after his brother Gus' wife had a baby girl, who was named Olivia Georgia. Her middle name is in honor of Sampras' mother.