Tennis: Sampras takes the heat

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The Independent Online
PETE SAMPRAS and Jennifer Capriati warmed up - literally - for next week's Australian Open with convincing wins in scorching temperatures in Sydney in the New South Wales Open.

But although both voiced concern after playing in 40C temperatures, they were warned that things could get even hotter next week. Guy Forget practised for an hour on the centre court at Melbourne's National Tennis Centre, the venue for the Open, where the heat soared to a near-record 59C (138F).

Sampras, who beat Amos Mansdorf 6-3, 7-5, wilted as the match went on. 'It was unbelievably hot,' he said. 'You basically have to conserve energy. At times you have to lay off a little.'

But Capriati, who destroyed Pam Shriver 6-0, 6-1, was altogether more comfortable. 'I felt very good out there,' she said.

Sampras, the top seed, will now face Thomas Muster of Austria in the semi-final after Muster beat Omar Camporese, of Italy, 6-4, 6-3.

Capriati will take on Gabriela Sabatini, who was made to work hard to beat the unseeded Barbara Rittner, of Germany, 7-5, 6-3. The other women's semi-final pairs Anke Huber, who upset the No 2 seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 7-6, 6-2, with the unseeded American, Amy Frazier, who beat her compatriot Tami Whitlinger 6-1, 6-3.