When Pete Sampras lost his last Wimbledon match

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When Pete Sampras lost his last Wimbledon match

Pete Sampras was an undisputed Wimbledon king during the 90s, winning seven titles between 1993-2000. Pete lost that memorable fourth-round clash to Roger Federer in 2001, and he hit rock bottom at one of his favorite tournaments a year later.

Pete entered the 2002 Wimbledon ranked 13th and without an ATP title for two years. He defeated Martin Lee in the first round to kick off what turned out to be his last Wimbledon campaign. On June 26, Pete suffered a shocking defeat to the Swiss lucky loser George Bastl who toppled the legendary champion 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 15 minutes!

Staged on Court 2, a so-called Graveyard of champions (Nastase, Ashe, McEnroe, Connors and Hewitt were all beaten at that court before Pete), Sampras played his last Wimbledon match, as Boris Becker wisely predicted. His journey at the All England Club ended in the worst way, playing miles below his best and losing to a player who had two Major wins on his tally before Wimbledon.

Pete Sampras lost to world no. 145 George Bastl in five sets in 2002.

It was the only five-setter career win for a former University of Southern California star. He earned it after fending off six out of nine break points and stealing Pete's serve on five occasions, taking four points more than the American.

Sampras was on a recovery course in sets three and four but had no drive or strength to bring the match home from there, losing the decider and leaving the court with his head down. In his darkest moments, Pete was reading notes from his wife, Bridgette Wilson, that gave him the strength to fight but not to cross the finish line first and avoid the shocker.

One of the best servers ever hit just eight aces and ten double faults. He lost too many points in his games and failed to create more chances on the return, struggling to find the rhythm early on and being unable to beat the rival once he erased the deficit.

George took the opening set and continued in the same style in the second, breaking Pete in game two and making an essential hold in the next game after a few deuces. The Swiss grabbed another break in game eight for 6-2, taking two sets to love lead and looking determined in his quest toward one of the biggest surprises in Wimbledon history.

Pete finally broke in the third game's third set to end his downfall and served well in the remaining ones to secure it in game ten with a service winner. His chances had grown even more after a reliable performance in set number four when he broke George twice to set up a decider.

In the final set's fifth game, Pete fended off a break opportunity and had a chance to create the lead with a forehand winner at 4-3. Bastl repelled it with a smash winner and made the crucial move in the next game after breaking Sampras, serving for the career-best triumph.

World no. 145 held his nerves and delivered an excellent hold, sealing the deal when Sampras' forehand landed long to celebrate the most significant win and a place in the Wimbledon third round. By the end of the season, George scored just one more ATP victory while Pete Sampras lifted the 14th Major title at the US Open and retired in glory as one of the best players of all time.