Sampras increases lead at top

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The Independent Online

Pete Sampras confirmed his position as the world No 1 when he won his second title in two weeks by stopping his fellow American Todd Martin's strong run at the Kroger St Jude tournament in Memphis.

Sampras put on a masterful performance to beat the fifth seed 6-4, 7- 6 in the final. Martin, playing in the final for the fourth year in a row after two victories and a defeat by Jim Courier in 1993, took a 14- match winning run at this event into the match, but had no answer to the top seed's serve.

Sampras, who earned pounds 78,000, lost just nine points in 11 service games. He served no double faults, did not face a single break point and put 73 per cent of his first serves into play.

Sampras broke Martin at love in the fifth game and that proved to be all the edge he needed to take the first set. With Martin unable to make inroads on Sampras' service, he was lucky to take the second set into a tie-break. But Sampras raced to a 4-1 lead in the shoot-out and Martin double faulted at match point.

n Thomas Muster's misery since achieving world No 1 status continued last night when he was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Italy's Andrea Gaudenzi in the first round of an indoor ATP tournament in Milan. He surrendered his world top ranking by losing his first match as No 1, against Australia's Sandon Stolle in Dubai earlier this month.