One of the biggest upsets of the mid 90s at Slams… Sampras  had won 4 out of the 5 previous Slams, his biggest rival Agassi wasn’t in great shape ahead of the event, Becker & Ivanisevic were eliminated already in the first round, Courier in 2R, so it was difficult to imagine in the first few days of the tournament that Sampras wouldn’t triumph in New York again. Admittedly he had a six-week break due to left ankle injury before the Open, but he’d easily outplayed three opponents in the first week, and despite not the greatest physical preparation it seemed the draw was exceptionally beneficial for him to reach the semifinal at least. And who knows what could have happened if Sampras hadn’t lost a 3:0* advantage in the 4th set against Yzaga . Sampras seemed tired already after the opener, he was not able to regularly apply his standard (on hard-courts) S&V actions behind the first serves, but his serve was a lethal weapon, so once he led 2-1 in sets with a break, the Peruvian could expect his exit. The 27-year-old Yzaga managed to play a tie-break holding at ‘love’ at 4:5. In the tie-break Sampras led 2:0* when Yzaga delivered one of his best volleys of the day (during rallies he was attacking the net more often than Sampras!), and won it 7/4. In the decider, Sampras looked physically awful, but Yzaga suddenly facing a chance to make an enormous upset, choked. He led 5:2* (30-all) when netted a casual backhand. Another game, Yzaga leads 5:3 (30/0) and commits a double fault… Sampras won the first point at 5-all, so he was seven points away from winning the match in five sets, but it was too much for him. The Peruvian took the last two games – Sampras had a game point and a winnable forehand to force a deciding tie-break. Yzaga converted his first match point passing Sampras with his backhand return… # Interesting that Sampras – one of the best 5-set players of the Open Era (33-15 record) – lost five-setters twice to two different players, Yzaga (1988 & 94) and Korda (1993 & 97) being eliminated by them after exactly the same time in the US Open fourth rounds.
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