Tennis: Sampras claims his revenge
Monday 16 August 1999
Sampras has won 22 consecutive matches and four tournaments, including the Queen's Cup, Wimbledon and Los Angeles, in the second longest streak of his career. He won 29 in a row in 1994.
"Pete never let me play well, it's as simple as that," Rafter said. "I couldn't get into the game. He just served too big and too hard. There weren't long points out there, and it's just too hard to play tough tennis."
Sampras had 12 aces, landing 67 percent of his first serves. "From the first couple of games, I felt like my rhythm was there," Sampras said. "I felt I was hitting big, and I was hitting close to the line. And you combine those two, I think he felt it was going to be tough to break me."
Sampras finally ran out the winner 7-6, 6-3.
The first set, all serve and sometimes volley, was played in 36 minutes - 12 games averaging three minutes each. But as precise as the first set was, the second was that ragged, and the pace slowed as well.
In the tie-break Sampras' consistent 130mph-plus serves took a double toll. Rafter aggravated a shoulder injury, and broke four strings on his racket trying to return a let serve - giving Sampras another first serve because of the delay to replace equipment.
Rafter wore an ice pack to his postmatch interview, but said he was making no excuses for his play. The injury may have affected the amount of "kick" he could put on his serve, but not other aspects of his game, he said. "I started serving pretty well, and the second serve just couldn't quite get the `pop'," Rafter said.
Sampras said he was surprised that so many of his serves were clocked at such high speeds. "We played at a time when it was hot and dry and the ball was going through the air very quick," Sampras said of the early evening match. "Two guys who serve and volley very well on a quick court with really quick conditions and balls, I think we both were struggling to return serve. We were serve and volleying well, but it was almost too quick."
Sampras' win ended a run of three straight defeats against the Australian, including here and at the US Open last year.
Rafter, who has won the past two US Opens, received treatment for his shoulder during and after the match and said it would have to fully mend for him to defend his title.
Latest in Sport
Neil Warnock sacked: Crystal Palace confirm manager Warnock has been axed following the Boxing Day defeat to Southampton
Manchester United vs Newcastle match report: Brilliant Wayne Rooney scores twice to fire up United's unlikely title challenge
Manchester United injury news: Angel Di Maria unlikely to face Spurs as Marouane Fellaini's 'mystery illness' turns out to be rib injury
Arsenal vs QPR player ratings: Could anyone outshine new Gunners hero Alexis Sanchez and who was worse than villain Olivier Giroud?
Manchester United 3 Newcastle 1: 'I'm playing like Paul Scholes,' says Wayne Rooney
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...