Tennis: Sampras gives grand display

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The Independent Online
THREE REIGNING Grand Slam champions showed their class to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Great American Championships in Mason, Ohio.

The Australian Open holder, Petr Korda, the Wimbledon winner, Pete Sampras, and the reigning US Open champion, Pat Rafter, breezed to victories in this hardcourt warm-up for the US Open, which begins in New York on 31 August.

Sampras, needing to defend his crown here to reclaim the title of world No 1, beat his fellow American, Jan-Michael Gambill, 7-6, 6-3 in 73 minutes. He next faces another American, Vince Spadea.

Spadea continued his run of upsets by taking out the eighth seed, Richard Krajicek, 6-2, 6-3. For the first time in his seven-year career, Spadea, the world No 44, posted back-to-back wins over top 10 players. He beat Andre Agassi, the No 9, here in the second round.

The third seeded Korda, of the Czech Republic, rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic while Rafter, the fifth seed from Australia, outlasted the American Todd Martin, the world No 31, 3- 6, 6-3, 6-2. Rafter awaits Korda in the quarter-finals.

Sampras hopes to make tennis history in New York by winning a 12th career Grand Slam title, which would match the record held by the great Australian, Roy Emerson.

An all-Swedish quarter-final was set-up as Magnus Larsson beat Germany's Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4 and Thomas Johansson beat the Frenchman, Jerome Golmard, 7-6, 7-6.

The former women's world No 1, Monica Seles, won six of the last seven games to beat France's Nathalie Tauziat 6-4, 6-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Acura Classic WTA event at Manhattan Beach, California. The Wimbledon runner-up had few answers to the fourth-seeded American.