Tennis: Sampras stalked again

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PETE SAMPRAS may see a familiar figure on the other side of the net when he attempts to piece his game together on grass in the Stella Artois Championships at London's Queen's Club this week, writes John Roberts.

The South African, Grant Stafford, who defeated the world No 1 in three sets in the second round last year, could be waiting for him again. Stafford must first overcome Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman. Sampras, along with the other top seeds, has a first-round bye today.

Boris Becker, who withdrew from the French Open with a back injury, will face Jeremy Bates in the second round if the Briton wins an opening match against Guillaume Raox, of France. Tim Henman, the 19-year-old from Oxford, plays a qualifier in the first round with the prospect of facing Todd Martin, the Australian Open finalist. And Mark Petchey will meet another American, MaliVai Washington, if he beats the Venezualan, Maurice Ruah.

Stefan Edberg, who is due to meet Patrick McEnroe or Brent Larkham, says his back injury has improved. 'I hope to play at Queen's but if I feel a twinge I will have to quit, because I cannot risk missing Wimbledon,' he said.