Canada Flashback: Michael Chang edges Pete Sampras to reach final

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Canada Flashback: Michael Chang edges Pete Sampras to reach final

Born within a couple of years in the early 70s, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang were among the world's leading young guns in the late 80s and early 90s. Chang won his first and only Major title at Roland Garros 1989 at 17, and Agassi took charge in 1990 to move in front of him and Sampras.

At the end of July in Toronto, three young Americans were among the favorites, and only one could advance into the title clash, as the draw arranged them in the same half. In the quarters, Chang toppled world no. 4 Agassi 7-5 in the third set to enter the last four, where he battled against Sampras.

It was their fourth meeting and the fourth triumph for Michael, who ousted Pete 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in over two and a half hours to earn a place in the first Masters 1000 final. Sampras claimed two points more than Chang, and they both scored two breaks to remain neck and neck until the very end.

Pete had more winners and forced more mistakes to build the lead that he wasted in the unforced errors department, hitting 20 more than Michael to lose ground.

Michael Chang beat Pete Sampras in the 1990 Canada Open semi-final.

In the shortest rallies, Sampras had the upper hand, and Chang erased that in the more extended exchanges to cross the finish line first and remain on the title course.

Michael fended off two break chances in the second game with winners and another at 1-2 to avoid a deficit. Pete finally grabbed a break in the sixth game to build the advantage and held at 15 to move 5-2 in front. Chang saved two set points on serve in the eighth game, and Sampras held at 15 in the next one to claim the opener in style.

Michael raised his level in set number two, and they both served well until 4-4. The younger American brought the ninth game home after two deuces, and the set went into a tie break that Michael claimed 7-5 when his opponent sprayed a forehand mistake.

Chang got broken for the second and last time in the third set's second game and wasted three break chances in the next one to fall 3-0 behind. Michael pulled a break back at 1-3 after an exceptional defense and held at love to bring the result back to 3-3.

Losing ground in those moments, Pete saved a break point in the next one, and they stayed close to each other until 5-5. In the decisive moment of the entire clash, Sampras sprayed a backhand mistake in the 11th game to suffer a break before Chang held after deuce to seal the deal and score the fourth straight victory over a compatriot.