Becker rises up to defeat Sampras
Monday 28 October 1996
Becker delighted his fanatical home fans by coming back twice from behind to end Sampras's 21-match unbeaten run. He won 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Sampras had been seeking his fourth consecutive tournament victory, including the US Open, but he was stopped by a resurgent Becker who surprised himself in a final lasting just under three hours.
``I am a bit perplexed. I never expected to be able to beat him," Becker said. "But you try everything against Pete Sampras in a final like this. My legs hurt in the final set."
Becker's first victory over Sampras since the 1994 World Championship should see him qualify for the same end of season event in Hanover next month.
The contest was not all serve-and-volley despite the quick surface. Both Grand Slam champions were also prepared to play longer, tactical rallies from the baseline before picking their moments to move forward.
The 7,000 crowd roared every point Becker won. He played with their nerves before serving them up a victory to celebrate.
Becker made a perfect start, breaking Sampras's serve in the opening game when the American volleyed into the net. But Sampras bounced back with a break in the sixth game and effectively clinched the set with another break in the eighth game when Becker struck a forehand into the net to give the American a 5-3 lead.
Becker started the second set confidently, taking a 3-0 lead after an early break. This time, despite pressure from Sampras, he managed to hold on to his serve and clinch the set 6-3 with an ace.
Sampras, who beat Andre Agassi in the semi-finals, had the better touch and rhythm in the third set which he also clinched with an ace. But Becker is never more dangerous than when under pressure. He forced the match into a deciding set when he broke Sampras's serve to lead 5-3 in the fourth when his opponent netted a volley and then served out the next game.
At times it was like his younger days as Becker dived acrobatically across the court. The German made the vital break of service in the third game of the final set and held serve, eventually clinching the match with an ace.
"He was just too good today - a great comeback," Sampras said graciously. "There's only one king in Germany and his name is Boris. Becker is the best indoor player I've ever played."
Latest in Sport
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Terror threat level raised to severe as PM warns Isis risk could last for decades
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...