March 26, 1995: Andre Agassi tops Pete Sampras to lift the title in Miami


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March 26, 1995: Andre Agassi tops Pete Sampras to lift the title in Miami

Entering the season ranked first and second, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were the players to beat in 1995, proving their status in the first three months of the season after competing against each other in three big finals!

Andre won the title at the Australian Open on debut, beating Pete in four sets, and Sampras got his revenge in the title match at Indian Wells, prevailing 7-5 in the third set to lift the crown. Two weeks later they met in another final, this time in Miami where Agassi grabbed a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory over the two-time defending champion in two hours and 13 minutes for his fifth Masters 1000 crown.

Andre served at 70% and he lost 26 points in 14 service games, suffering one break from four chances given to Pete. On the other hand, Sampras had to work hard behind the initial shot to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard, landing only 49% of the first serve in and dealing with eight break points.

He saved six of those to stay in contention although it wasn't enough for the second straight Masters 1000 title, falling short in the final set tie break to miss a chance for a "Sunshine double." Surprisingly, Agassi had the upper hand in the quickest points (restricting Pete on just nine aces) and also claimed 19 out of 31 most extended exchanges to emerge as a deserved winner.

Something extraordinary happened from the fifth game of the second set, probably unseen in any other Masters 1000 final, all starting from 0-40 on Agassi's serve. Facing three break points, Andre won no less than 19 points in a row, storming over Sampras to win the set and gain the momentum, being stopped only in the third point of the first game in set number three!

Pete drew first blood in the second game of the encounter, earning a break with a backhand crosscourt winner (his only break point for a set and a half) and saving three break points in game five to stay in front. Agassi had a huge chance to pull the break back at 3-5 when Sampras served for the opener, squandering them all to bring Pete back into the game.

Sampras closed it after four deuces to take the opener 6-3 after 43 minutes, looking good to impose the lead in set number two as well after creating three break points at 2-2. With his back pushed against the wall, Andre started to dominate on the court and fended off all break points for an important hold after a forced error from Pete.

That turned the tables and Agassi was on a roll now, breaking at love in game six to secure the first lead of the match and cementing the break with a hold at love to move 5-2 up. He was flying over the court in those moments while Sampras faded from it, getting broken at love in game eight to lose the set 6-2 as Agassi won the last 17 points to enter the third set with a massive drive!

Both players served well earlier in the final set and Andre moved 4-3 in front after three deuces in game seven, keeping Sampras away from break chances. Returners have won just four points in the last five games and the deciding tie break became inevitable, starting with four service winners for a 2-2.

A volley winner at the net pushed Agassi 3-2 up and he earned a mini-break after a weak volley from Sampras, moving closer to the finish line. Andre won a fantastic eighth point and grabbed three match points after a solid backhand attack.

Another good return delivered the 10th point and the title for Agassi who would become the world no. 1 for the first time 15 days later.