Sampras has little trouble beating Alami

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The Independent Online

Pete Sampras' bid to tune up for this month's US Open went much smoother today.

Pete Sampras' bid to tune up for this month's US Open went much smoother today.

A day after the No. 2 seed struggled through three sets to defeat Michael Llodra, Sampras ousted Karin Alami 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the second round of the $2.95 million Tennis Masters Series-Canada at the National Tennis Centre in Toronto.

It was only Sampras' second time on the court since winning Wimbledon last month, his record 13th Grand Slam tournament title. He will now face the winner of the Sargis Sargsian-Simon Larose match on Thursday.

Sampras, the Masters Series' all-time leader with 11 titles, appears to have a good opportunity to go for No. 12 considering how the event's top seeds continue to drop out.

Only two of the series top five seeds - Sampras and No. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov - remain after top-seeded Andre Agassi and No. 3 Magnus Norman were knocked out in the first round on Monday.

Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten - seeded fourth - was the latest to go, losing 7-6 (4), 6-4 to Canadian Sebastien Lareau on Wednesday. After falling behind 5-2 in the first set, Lareau - a wild-card entry playing before a supportive Canadian crowd at center court - rallied back against Kuerten, who was coming off a Tennis Masters Series win at Hamburg in May.

In other second-round results, sixth-seeded Thomas Enqvist beat Andrew Ilie 6-3, 6-2, No. 8 Marat Safin defeated Andrei Pavel 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0.

Against Alami, ranked 43rd in the world, Sampras looked in control throughout the match, never losing service while recording 18 aces.

Sampras, who said he's over the shin splints that bothered him at Wimbledon, pulled away early in the second set when Alami ran into trouble. Tied 1-1, Sampras broke Alami's service when Alami double faulted.

Ahead 3-2, Sampras then gave up only four points the rest of the way.

In other action, Wayne Ferreira defeated Thomas Johansson 6-4, 6-3 and Marcelo Rios beat Arnaud Clement 6-4, 7-6 (5).