July 29, 2001
Pete lost his chance to claim his first title since Wimbledon 2000 with a 4-6, 2-6 defeat by former world number one Agassi. Agassi trails 17-14 in the 12-year rivalry, but he's won the last meeting - Indian Wells in March 2001.
Sampras is 22-12 this year, and has gone 14 tournaments without winning a trophy -- the longest since he won his first ATP Tour title in the 34th event of his career in 1990.
"It would've been nice to win a title here in my hometown, but I'm optimistic,'' said Sampras, who was cheered on by his wife, Bridgette. ``I didn't think I was playing poorly. He raised his level.''
Agassi won 10 of the final 12 games as Sampras struggled to serve into the sun. Although Agassi faced the same condition, Sampras said, ``It's a bigger deal to me because my serve is such a big part of my game. I felt I was dominating the first set and a couple points here or there he ended up winning. After he got that first set, I lost my way for a touch.''
Sampras got broken twice in the first set, including once on a double fault -- one of seven that offset his nine aces. He connected on just 54 percent of his first serves in the match, compared to 80 percent for Agassi. Sampras converted only one of seven break chances, while Agassi was 4-of-7.
Agassi saved three break points to even the second set 1-1. He broke Sampras in the next game that went to deuce five times. Twice Agassi smacked running forwards down the line to go up 2-1. He broke Sampras with a down-the-line backhand for a 4-1 lead and then Sampras committed four backhand errors to trail 5-1 before Agassi served a love game to close out the 1 1/2 -hour match.
Sampras will move from 20th to 17th in the points race after making just his second ATP final of the year. The match was stopped for three minutes with Agassi leading 3-1, 30-15 on Sampras' serve in the second set when a spectator fainted in the stands. The man was revived and walked out under his own power.