Points won by each set: [ 29-29, 40-36, 33-28 ]
Points won directly on serve:
29 % Bruguera – 29 of 98
31 % Sampras – 31 of 97

Arguably the best hardcourt performance in Bruguera’s career. The Spaniard suffered a crisis between Summer ’95 and Summer ’96, then within a year he notched the finals of three big events (Atlanta ’96, Key Biscayne & Roland Garros ’97), displaying his very best shape from the first half of the 90s when he became “the king of clay”… Sampras [1] was a huge favourite, but Bruguera hadn’t any complex of his famous peer having beaten him easily twice, and losing deciding sets in two other meetings. The 1st set of the semifinal played in tough conditions (30 degrees, high humidity) was extremely quick, almost never happens that in a 7-5 set both players have gathered fewer than thirty points (five games held at ‘love’). In the 2nd set Sampras had a mini-match point at 4-all – the Spaniard [35] fought it off with an overhead to get the first ‘deuce’ of the match. He won an unbelievable rally with a backhand passing-shot to lead *3:1 in the breaker which he collected 7/2. In the last ~40 minutes of the match he was serving better than ever, finished the 2nd set with an ace, and served six more aces in the decider, out-aceing Sampras in the end! The American improved from *1:3 (0/30) to 3-all (30/15), but Bruguera’s crisp passing-shots produced another break.

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