Tennis: Sampras finds his form

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PETE SAMPRAS gave notice of his determination to make an impression in next week's Australian Open in Melbourne when he hammered his way in to the semi-finals of a warm-up tournament, the New South Wales Open, in Sydney yesterday.

The American demolished Sweden's Nicklas Kulti 6-4, 6-2, providing a rich assortment of winners. 'I thought I served and volleyed about as well as I could today,' Sampras said. However, he is not happy with the rubberised courts in Australia, which are causing a recurrence of the shin problems he has suffered for two years. 'My shins don't seem to agree with the surface and get pretty sore - I can play through it but I don't want to wear myself out.'

Another Swede, Jonas Svensson, lost 7-6, 7-6 to Austria's Thomas Muster, who will face Omar Camporese in the semi-finals. The Italian beat South Africa's Wayne Ferreira 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. In the women's singles, the 16-year-old Jennifer Capriati had to work hard to beat Ros Fairbank-Nideffer 6-7, 7-5, 7- 5. The South African reached the final of this event in 1979, when Capriati was two years' old.

In another warm-up tournament, an exhibition round-robin event in Adelaide, Stefan Edberg needed seven match points to see off Patrick McEnroe 6-3, 7-5. 'I found it very difficult to find the timing out there,' Edberg said. Jim Courier, Boris Becker and Michael Stich are also competing in the Adelaide tournament.

In the qualifying tournament for the Australian Open, Britain's Chris Bailey and Neil Broad reached the second round in Melbourne. Bailey beat David Kass, of the United States, 7-5, 6-4, while Broad secured a 6-3, 6-3 victory over an Australian junior, Allen Belobrajdic. A third British player, Mark Petchey, lost a tight match with Brod Dyke, of Australia, 6-0, 1-6, 6-0.

Results, Sport in Short, page 31