ThrowbackTimes Wimbledon: Pete Sampras downs Andre Agassi in last all-American final



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ThrowbackTimes Wimbledon: Pete Sampras downs Andre Agassi in last all-American final

In 1998, Pete Sampras embraced a hectic fall schedule to maintain the year-end no. 1 position, achieving that for the sixth time in a row and never repeating the feat. A year later, Pete struggled with a back injury and played only 48 matches on the Tour, the lowest number in ten years, entering 13 ATP tournaments and lifting five titles from as many finals, including Wimbledon, Cincinnati and the ATP Tour World Championship.

Heading to Queen's with 11 ATP wins under his belt, Sampras turned his fortune around, prevailing over excellent grass players to clinch the title after beating Lleyton Hewitt and Tim Henman in the deciding set tie break.

That gave him a lot of confidence ahead of Wimbledon, and Pete went all the way at the All England Club for the sixth time in the previous seven years, defeating Andre Agassi on July 4 in what has been the last all-American Wimbledon final!

Facing rivals from outside the top-70, Sampras barely experienced any trouble on serve in the first four rounds, scoring convincing triumphs and saving energy for the quarter-final clash against Mark Philippoussis. The Aussie proved to be a much tougher rival to overcome, winning the first set before having to retire due to a knee injury, propelling Pete into the semi-final where Tim Henman stood on the other side of the net, just like a year ago.

In 1998, Sampras went through in four sets, and that was the case in 1999 again, notching a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 triumph with four breaks to book a place in the final against the great rival Andre Agassi on the Independence Day!

Agassi came to London after achieving a Career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, hoping to become the third player in the Open era with Roland Garros-Wimbledon double after Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, decades before him. Like Sampras, Andre used a favorable draw to advance into the semis, where he ousted Patrick Rafter.

In 1999, Pete Sampras defeated Andre Agassi in the Wimbledon final.

The more accomplished grass-court player and the defending champion delivered one of the best performances in the last couple of years to topple Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 55 minutes in what Andre described as "walk on water!" It was the 12th Major crown for Sampras who tied Roy Emerson's record, standing strong from start to finish and repelling all the attacks from Agassi to lift the sixth Wimbledon crown in the past seven years and extend his dominance at the All England Club.

Pete fended off all four break chances and broke Andre once in each set to seal the deal, dominating the shortest rallies to forge the victory. Pete won 21 points more than Andre, having a slight edge in those more extended exchanges and hitting more service winners and fewer unforced errors to earn a much-needed win that pushed him further up on the record books.

Overall, Sampras fired 75 winners and 13 unforced errors, overpowering Agassi in every segment and never stepping a foot wrong from start to finish. Andre wasted an enormous opportunity in the seventh game of the opening set when he squandered three break chances.

Agassi sprayed three errors to suffer a break at 15 in the next one, with Pete closing the opener with four winners on serve for 6-3. Struggling to find the first serve, Andre got broken at love at the beginning of the second set, and it was all about Sampras, who hit 22 winners and four unforced errors to deliver five good holds and take it 6-4.

Agassi gave his best to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard in the third set, following Sampras' pace until 5-5 when he played a terrible service game to suffer a break after four mistakes and allow Pete to serve for the title.

Four service winners in that 12th game sealed the deal for the defending champion, who looked much better in the rest of the season to finish inside the top-3.