Wednesday, August 11, 1999

Sampras leads hot Americans


Star-spangled day produces 7 U.S. winners

BY NEIL SCHMIDT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

sampras
Pete Sampras got off to a slow start before beating Jan Siemerink.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
        MASON — On a day for flag-waving, Pete Sampras led a U.S. charge Tuesday through the Great American Insurance ATP Championship draw.

        The world's No. 1 player extended his winning streak this summer to 18 matches by beating Jan Siemerink 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 in a second-round match. Six other Americans won first-round matches as U.S. players went 7-1 on the day.

        “It's been a good run for me the past couple months,” Sampras said. “It's not going to last forever, but I hope it lasts another three or four weeks (through the U.S. Open).”

        Siemerink, ranked 48th in the world, held triple set point at 6-3 in the first-set tiebreak. After a Siemerink double-fault, Sampras came up with a big save, lofting a backhand lob for a winner. When Sampras hit a service winner, it was 6-6.

        After wasting three set points of his own, Sampras served at 10-9 and closed out the set by forcing a Siemerink error.

        “I was lucky to have won that set,” Sampras said. “That backhand lob winner was one of the few I've ever hit.”

        Sampras fell behind 2-0 in the second set but then won four straight games. He won 14 of his last 15 service points to close out the match.

        Wednesday's highlights:

        • Defending champion Pat Rafter, seeded second, meets Daniel Vacek at 7 p.m. on Center Court. Rafter leads the series 2-1 but Vacek won the last meeting.

        • Andre Agassi, the third seed, plays Arnaud Di Pasquale at 1 p.m. on Center Court.

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