Points won by each set: | 35-27, 22-33, 35-22, 11-26, 54-50 |
Points won directly behind the serve:
28 % Sampras – 42 of 148
12 % Kafelnikov – 21 of 167
When the season 1993 was finished, everyone expected Sampras to win Australian Open ’94, but when the tournament kicked off it wasn’t so obvious due to Sampras’ shocking defeat to an unknown Karim Alami  in Doha. The match against the 19-year-old Kafelnikov  confirmed that Sampras didn’t begin the new season in the greatest physical shape. Now, in retrospect, we can say that Sampras’ dramatic 5-set victory more depended on Kafelnikov’s great performance, having the current knowledge how the Russian developed afterwards, and Sampras won the event not facing another similarly difficult obstacle.
After the four lopsided sets, the decider seemed to follow suit – Sampras led 3:1* (40/30) after his first lob in the contest, but Kafelnikov fought the break point off with his first overhead and broke back in the 8th game. Sampras’ second shocking defeat in just three matches was close as he missed his first serve at 4:5 (30-all). Kafelnikov netted his solid backhand down the line though. The young Russian participated in his first 3-hour match and paid the price for the lack of experience. He suffered some muscle problems in his legs, and Sampras prevailed after 3 hours 23 minutes (he was already serving to win the match at 6:5, but was broken at ‘love’). Sampras drew conclusions upon his first meeting against Kafelnikov, and their rivalry ended up at 11:2 for the American, with 10 easy wins following the thriller at Melbourne Park. Kafelnikov drew conclusions too, and almost to the end of his career he was very reliable when the match-clock hit three hours.