Tennis: Sampras beaten

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE world No 1 Pete Sampras did his confidence for next week's French Open no good at all yesterday, suffering a humiliating 53-minute defeat against the Spaniard Sergi Bruguera at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf. Brugu era trounced Sampras 6-3, 6-1 in the opening rubber of the Spain-United States match.

Fortunately for the American, his team-mates Michael Chang, Richey Reneberg and Patrick McEnroe bailed him out by steering their country to a 2-1 victory and a place in today's final against Germany.

Despite winning a clay court tournament in Kitzbuhel last summer, Sampras has never been at home on the slowest of the tournament circuit's surfaces. He says he has to be more patient, but neither patience nor an attacking strategy helped him against the world No 11.

A relaxed Sampras said afterwards he felt he had not played badly, but if that is true it only adds to his worries for Roland Garros, which begins tomorrow.

Chang's victory over Carlos Costa took 2hr 34min, longer than it needed to, given that Chang lost the first set after leading 4-0 and missed a set point at 5-3.

With a break point at both 2-1 and 3-2 in the second, Costa seemed on the point of taking the holders into the final, but they proved to be his last chances, and Chang ran out 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.

McEnroe and Reneberg's victory over Bruguera and Tomas Carbonell was as straightforward as it was expected. The new partnership of two of the world's top doubles specialists worked perfectly as they won 6-3, 6-1 in 52 minutes.

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