Sampras floors Courier

Tennis

JOHN ROBERTS

reports from Essen

As Pete Sampras prepared to execute the match point which would advance him into the semi-finals of the Eurocard Open and a step closer to regaining the status of No 1 in the world, his opponent, Jim Courier, lay on his back on the court more than long enough to have been counted out by the umpire.

Courier's trademark cap was at his feet, so it was evidently a serious matter. From being a set and 2-4 down, the Floridan had taken a 5-0 lead in a second-set tie break, only for Sampras to whittle it away, save three set points and be on the point of victory. The frustrated Courier made his protest because he was convinced that Sampras' service return at 6- 6 had landed wide of a sideline.

"They missed it," Courier said later, referring to the line judge and umpire. "Five players tell me they saw it replayed 10 times on video in the players' lounge and it was clearly wide. I'm coming to expect it. I've got to get by it, because you've got to make your own luck."

Sampras certainly considered himself lucky to have recovered from 0-5 in a shoot-out for the first time in his career. "The thought of a third set had come into my mind," he said, "and then before I knew it I had match point on my serve."

Was it difficult to keep his concentration when Courier was on the floor? "I didn't know what was going on. I looked up, and Jim was on the ground. But you still like your chances. It's still my serve. I was fortunate to have a match point." He secured victory with a smash, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), and has now won 13 out 16 of his contests with Courier.

Courier, 2-4 down in the second set and wondering if he would ever hit another decent forehand, was upset when called for a foot-fault for the second time. He responded by twice stepping inside the baseline and glaring at the linesman. Having played the clown, Courier reverted to straight man, winning three consecutive games. A third set might have been interesting. As it is Sampras will play Thomas Muster, who defeated Sergi Bruguera 6-4, 7-6.

MaliVai Washington, who eliminated Andre Agassi, the current No 1, in the third round, progressed to the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-4 against Sweden's Thomas Enqvist, the ninth seed.

Washington now meets the Frenchman, Arnaud Boetsch, ranked No 22 and climbing, who defeated Richard Krajicek, the defending champion, 6-4, 6-2.

Boris Becker may miss next week's Paris indoor tournament because of a back injury. After pulling out of the doubles yesterday, the German said he would decide about the French event after seeing a doctor.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Night job: Pacha nightclub DJ, Joan Ribas, is the new kingmaker on the island
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada