Highly anticipated match from the beginning of the event: Rafter  the defending champion vs three-time US Open champion – Sampras . In the no-deuce opener Rafter wasted two set points in the tie-break, at *6:5 (FH passing-shot) and 7:6* (service winner), losing it 8/10. Deciding moment of the semifinal came when Sampras led *4:2 (0/15) in the 3rd set. He played a BH volley winner and felt big pain in his left thigh (muscle spasm). At 5:2 he took a medical time-out leaving the court for five minutes. He won the set anyway with a bit disoriented Rafter, but in the 1st game of the 4th set the Australian broke with stunning passing-shots and the things were very complicated for the best player of the 90s. His movement was limited, the pain didn’t affect only his serve. In the last two sets he had huge problem to keep his returns in play and the relaxed Rafter, holding without any troubles, finished the 3-hour 4-minute contest with two passing-shots. One month earlier, Rafter defeated Sampras in the Cincy final.
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