Tennis: Sampras able to douse the fire of Rosset

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PETE SAMPRAS had to weather Marc Rosset's heavy artillery before forcing his way into the quarter-finals of the Paris Open yesterday.

The world No 1 fired 13 aces compared to 18 by the hard-hitting Swiss player in a meeting of two of the best servers in the game. But Sampras's stronger all-round game took him to a 7-5 6-3 victory.

Sampras, seeking a victory in the French capital which has eluded him on both the slow, clay courts of the French Open and the quick surface of the Bercy Stadium, took control by breaking Rosset in the last game of the first set.

He then moved up a gear in the second, producing an astonishing return to take a 3-1 lead before cruising to victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

While nobody doubted Sampras's determination, there were fears that Boris Becker, who will become a father in January, might not have his mind on tennis.

But the German proved them wrong by beating the 14th seed, Karel Novacek of the Czech Republic, 7-6, 6-2.