Thomas Enqvist beat error-prone Pete Sampras for only the second time in 11 matches, taking a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the quarterfinals of the Tennis Masters-Indian Wesame as his number of aces in Indian Wells, Califonia.
Enqvist had 14 fewer unforced errors, six fewer double-faults, and the same number of aces as Sampras.
"You can't keep escaping like I have the last couple of days," said Sampras, who had to come back from first-set losses to Byron Black and Wayne Ferreira earlier in the tournament.
"Thomas is at a pretty high level. I just couldn't really seem to find my game tonight from just about every aspect - my serve, forehand, everything. I've been struggling all week with my second serve."
"I felt like he was not really hitting the ball as well as he usually does, that's for sure. Still, he's dangerous. With his serve, if he gets a service break against you, you can easily lose," said Enqvist
"Every time you go on the court to play him, it's an honor; you're really pumped up."
In the women's competition earlier at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Martina Hingis took command after losing the first three games and defeated Mary Pierce 6-4, 6-2 to set up a showdown between the world's top two players.
The top-ranked Hingis faces No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, who has won the last four matches between them, in Saturday's Tennis Masters-Indian Wells final.
Typical of Sampras' struggles against Enqvist was the sixth game of the third set.
He hit a volley into the net on the first point, was passed by a forehand on the second, double-faulted on the third and, after the Swede netted a return to make it 15-40, Sampras double-faulted again to give Enqvist the service break and a 4-2 lead.
In other men's quarter-finals, number 8 Nicolas Lapentti, the highest remaining seed, took a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Hicham Arazi, who had upset top seed Andre Agassi in the opening round.
Alex Corretja defeated number 6 Magnus Norman 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; and number 12 Mark Philippoussis beat Sjeng Schalken 7-6 (7), 6-4.
Results from the Tennis Master Series-Indian Wells tournament, presented by Newsweek:
Men Singles Quarter-finals
Alex Corretja, Spain, def. Magnus Norman (6), Sweden, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Nicolas Lapentti (8), Ecuador, def. Hicham Arazi, Morocco, 6-2, 6-0. Mark Philippoussis (12), Australia, def. Sjeng Schalken, Netherlands, 7-6 (7), 6-4. Thomas Enqvist (10), Sweden, d. Pete Sampras (2), United States, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Jared Palmer and Alex O'Brien (2), United States, def. David Adams and John-Laffnie de Jager, South Africa, 6-3, 6-0. Roger Federer, Switzerland and Dominik Hrbaty, Slovakia, def. Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, Australia (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands and Sandon Stolle, Australia (7), def. Ellis Ferreira, South Africa and Rick Leach (1), United States, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa and Yvegeny Kafelnikov, Russia def. Paul Goldstein and Chris Woodruff, United States, 6-2, 6-4.