Tennis: Sampras on active service: The new World No 1 hits his stride

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The Independent Online
PETE SAMPRAS, the world No 1, easily beat his compatriot Brad Gilbert 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to win the Japan Open in Hiroshima yesterday.

The Americans went into the match with four wins each from their previous eight contests. However, Sampras produced a powerful all- round game, which Gilbert was unable to counter, and collected his third title of the year.

Sampras served eight aces as Gilbert lost four consecutive games in the last set. 'Pete's a tough customer to play, who's going to be a major threat to winning the US Open and Wimbledon,' Gilbert said.

The 21-year-old from Tampa, Florida, went to the top of the ATP rankings after his quarter-final win over David Wheaton and Jim Courier's exit in the third round.

Sampras said he was undaunted by the pressure of being No 1. 'Ever since I won the US Open and I've been in the top five, I've been more or less a target,' he said. 'But I've got used to that extra pressure, so I don't feel any different on the court now I'm No 1.'

Andrei Medvedev, of Ukraine, beat Sergi Bruguera in the singles final of the Conde de Godo men's tournament in Barcelona yesterday. After losing the first set 6-7, Medvedev recovered to win the next three 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. It was his fifth title and second this year following his victory in Estoril, Portugal, two weeks ago.

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