Thursday, August 10, 2000

Qualifier almost puts dent in Sampras




By The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Associated Press

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Taylor Dent reacts after missing break point.
(AP photos)
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        MASON, Ohio — Pete Sampras threw footballs in the parking lot to stay loose during a two-hour rain delay Wednesday night, then eked out a double-tiebreaker victory over 19-year-old Taylor Dent at Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati.

        The second-seeded Sampras beat Dent 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3) despite 11 double faults. Both served in the 130-mph range on occasion, but Dent served 15 aces to six for Sampras.

        “He's got a huge serve,” Sampras said. “He just came out swinging hard. He's got a real good future with that weapon.”

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Pete Sampras
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        Dent, who had to receive a wild-card invitation just to reach the qualifier for this event, is 196th in the ATP Champions Race point system. He made his name last month by qualifying for Wimbledon and taking a set off Andre Agassi.

        The start of their second-round match was delayed two hours by rain, then was suspended in the first set for 45 minutes because of lightning nearby.

        “I would have loved to have seen a third set,” Dent said. “I think I had a shot. I feel like I am capable of playing with the best of them. I proved that at Wimbledon and here.”

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- Qualifier almost put dent in Sampras
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