ANDRE AGASSI VERSES PETE SAMPRAS

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The Independent Online
Andre Agassi is stretched to the limit during his defeat to Pete Sampras, his American compatriot and the world No 1, in the Newsweek Champions Cup at Indian Wells, California, on Monday night. Sampras, who won 7-5, 6-3, 7-5, hit 18 aces in an almost perfect display of serve-and- volley tennis, closing out his two-hour, 12-minute victory with his final ace. Win or lose, Sampras was assured of retaining the No 1 position for at least another fortnight, until after the Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Florida. But he said that Agassi, the world No 2, should be No 1 by virtue of his record over the past seven months.

"He's won the last two Grand Slam tournaments and he deserves to be No 1," Sampras said. Agassi broke Sampras in the fifth game of the first set with a backhand passing shot to take a 3-2 lead, but Sampras immediately broke back and did not drop his serve again. Photograph: Mark J Terrill/AP

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