Tennis: Sampras squares up to Chang in final

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Pete Sampras will be given a stern examination of his readiness for next week's Australian Open when he plays fellow American Michael Chang in the final of a warm-up exhibition event today.

Sampras, the top seed in the season's first Grand Slam in Melbourne, which starts on Monday, will try to prevent Chang, second-seeded in the Open, from winning his third Colonial Classic title in a row.

Sampras, the world No 1, advanced without hitting a ball at Kooyong yesterday when the world No 4, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, was forced to withdraw because of a broken hand.

"Michael is a true test to see where I am at," Sampras said of his meeting with the world No 2.

"He plays very well in Australia and we will see how it goes out there. It's not a Grand Slam final, so I want to make sure I'm hitting the ball well and feeling fit and ready to go on Monday."

Chang, who lost to Boris Becker in the Australian Open final last January, beat the German on Thursday in the other semi-final.

A fractured bone in Kafelnikov's right hand has forced the Russian to pull out of the Open. The exhibition event has been badly affected by injuries, forcing the organisers to call in several replacements at short notice.