Saturday, August 14, 1999

Sampras breaks Krajicek's hold over him

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — The match turned in a matter of moments. It was 4-4. Pete Sampras had double-faulted for the third time in the game and was down a break point. But Richard Krajicek could not capitalize.

        Sampras came back to win the game and eventually the Friday quarterfinal 6-4, 6-2.

        “At the moment, I didn't think it was going to be my last chance (to break Sampras),” Krajicek said. “Obviously it was.”

        Sampras went up 40-love with Krajicek serving, hitting a masterful forehand winner with Krajicek at the net, then lobbing one toward the baseline for the next point. A backhand winner closed out the set.

        “After I won that first set ... I think he mentally knew he had a lot of work ahead of him if he was going to come back and win,” Sampras said.

        Sampras won the first game of the second set with four straight points, broke Krajicek's serve, then won four straight points again. It was 3-0.

        “After he broke me to go 2-love (in the second set), he got more confidence,” Krajicek said. “... What makes him so great is he's mentally so unbelievably strong. Mentally he's one of the toughest ever.”

        The seventh-seeded Krajicek had advanced to his first quarterfinal in two months but has not gotten any further since he won at Key Biscayne, Fla., in March.

        When Friday's match ended, Krajicek grabbed his bag and exited the court as quickly as possible. His four-match, five-year winning streak against Sampras was over.

        “I thought I got a little bit in his head, but apparently I didn't,” Krajicek said.

        Said Sampras: “It is a big hurdle. ... Sure, when someone has a great record against you, you come out very motivated, and it was good to get through it.”


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