Points won by each set: | 35-37, 32-27, 15-27, 32-21, 41-38 |
Points won directly on serve:
21 % Sampras – 38 of 173
23 % Wilander – 31 of 132

One of the most important matches that led Sampras to become the best player of the decade! He was 18-years-old, ranked no. 91, playing his first match on a main court at Slams (night session) as he faced the defending champion and the best player of the previous season – Wilander [5]. Until the Swede had two break points leading 7-5, 3:3, it seemed like an unquestionable straight sets win for him, and the youngster should have been happy to be close of winning the opener (he led 5:4*, 30-all when he missed a relatively easy volley). Sampras fought off break points though, and broke in the following game attacking the net as a receiver. In the decider Sampras survived on serve the longest game of the match (9 deuces) to lead 3:1, but the Swede broke him later on and led 30/15 at 4-all so he was six points away from victory – Sampras played three successive backhand winners then! The last game of the match was very dramatic, Sampras had a match point after withstanding three break points, only to commit a double fault. Wilander had his fourth opportunity and should have capitalised, but sent wide his forehand pass from a very winnable position. On the second match point, Sampras proposed a technical first serve – Wilander missed his backhand return. “At the start, I didn’t believe I could beat Wilander. (But) he gave me a couple openings and I took advantage of it. The second set was big. I knew then I could win it.” said Sampras after the 2-hour 52-minute contest. At the time he looked like a “new Edberg” with one huge difference – his forehand was already better than his backhand; he was still in the process of muscular growth, he couldn’t hit the ball fast on the first serves all the time, also his forehand wasn’t as powerful as in the 90s, thus he was much more prone to attack the net as a receiver.

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