Fascinating match on Centre Court in Paris, especially in retrospect – two future nos. 1 and both 5-set specialists. At the time very difficult to bet a winner: Sampras was ranked much higher [6 vs 57], but he was playing on his worst surface; Muster was a French Open ’90 semifinalist, but the first half of the ’91 season was terrible for him. His operated knee in 1989, bothered him at the beginning of 1991. He needed another, correcting surgery (March), and within the first five months he dropped from no. 7 to 116! The loss to Sampras, ended Muster’s abysmal period when he won just 5 out of 18 matches (finished the year 1990 with a 1-4 record). Following the Parisian bitter loss, Muster claimed a title in Florence, and began the process of rebuilding his career in the elite for the second time (in 1989-90, after the car accident he dropped from no. 6 to 37), exactly one year later he was in the Top 20 again.
The Austrian could have defeated Sampras in three and five sets. In the 3rd set Sampras was serving at 4-all (15/30); then, being six points away from defeat he played a great volley. The American trailed *1:4 (deuce) in the decider, at 3:4 (30/40) he fought off the mini-match point with an ace. Serving to advance to the second round, Sampras trailed 0/40, but managed to win five points in a row, and the match after 3 hours 21 minutes (2:58h lasted their first meeting, at US Open a year before). Sampras’ first of five comebacks from 0-2 in sets.
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