miami00sampras_kuerten

Points won by each set: [ 29-18, 39-39, 44-45, 48-45 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
44 % Sampras – 66 of 148
30 % Kuerten – 49 of 159

New century, new name of the event (Lipton Cup at Key Biscayne replaced by Ericsson Open in Miami) and a fascinating final between the best player of the years 1993-99, and a player who finished the 2000 season at the top. Only a few months earlier in their first meeting in Hanover, Sampras [2] prevailed 6-2 6-3, and began the Miami final leading 6-1 5:3* (40/30) which was quite shocking given the quality of his opponent. Kuerten saved that set point, another one, broke back, and to the end it was a dogfight. Sampras won two tie-breaks by margins of two points, but in both those tie-breaks he already led 6:2*. In total he needed seven match points to clinch the victory when Guga’s passing-shot hit the net-cord and the ball landed behind the baseline (earlier, at *5:6 Sampras fought off two set points). Overall it was high quality match of contrast game-styles, however, the level of the last tie-break was very poor as the crowd went crazy and both players got nervous delivering several errors. Right after the finish, Kuerten [6] destroyed his racquet and shake-handed with Steve Ulrich in a bizarre fashion using his left hand. The Brazilian was furious due to linesman decision awarding a point for Sampras when Guga left Pete’s backhand passing-shot at 6-all in the tie-break (unfortunately it was still a few years before the Hawk-Eye introduction, so based on the TV replay tough to say whether the ball was too long or not; Kuerten said that point had decided it didn’t go to the distance…). “I hadn’t played a match that tough in many, many months,” said Sampras “It was tougher than the semi with Andre in Melbourne. Physically it was more demanding.” In their third and last meeting, Kuerten will take a revenge in Lisbon.

Sampras’ route to his 62nd title:
2 Carlos Moya 6-1, 6-4
3 Andreas Vinciguerra 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4
4 Greg Rusedski 6-3, 6-3
Q Nicolas Lapentti 6-4, 7-6(3)
S Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
W Gustavo Kuerten 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(8)

# In the 2-hour 24-minute match vs Vinciguerra, Sampras wasn’t closer than five points away from defeat as he led 6:3 in the tie-break. Sampras held firmly at 4-all & 5-all before it… In the 3rd set he got a decisive break at 3-all with a backhand winner and then he threw up making a reminiscence of his epic quarter-final against Corretja at the US Open ’96

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