On this day: Pete Sampras tops Agassi in last all-American Wimbledon final



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On this day: Pete Sampras tops Agassi in last all-American Wimbledon final

Back in 1998, Pete Sampras had a hectic fall schedule to maintain the year-end no. 1 position, achieving that for the sixth time in a row and never repeating that. In 1999, Pete struggled with a back injury and was able to play 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 managed to turn his fortune around, prevailing over excellent grass players to lift the title, 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 four rivals from outside the top-70, Sampras barely faced 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 would have been 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 the same round.

In 1998, Sampras went through in four sets and repeated that in 1999 again, notching a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win with four breaks of serve to book the 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. As Sampras, Andre used a favorable draw to book the place in the semis where he ousted Patrick Rafter in straight sets to set the dream final with Pete.

The more accomplished grass-court player and the defending champion delivered one of the best performance in the last couple of years, toppling Agassi 6-3, 6,4 7-5 in an hour and 55 minutes in what Andre described like "walk on water!" It was the 12th Grand Slam 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 last seven years and extend his dominance at the All England Club.

Pete fended off all four break points and broke Andre once in each set to seal the deal in straight sets and move over the top, dominating in the shortest rallies to forge the triumph. Pete won 21 points more than Andre, having a small edge in those more extended exchanges and hitting more service winners and fewer unforced errors to earn a much-needed victory 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 points, spraying three errors to suffer a break at 15 in the next game and push Sampras in front, with Pete closing the opener with four winners on own serve for a 6-3.

Struggling to find the first serve throughout the match, Andre got broken at love at the beginning of the second set and it was all about Sampras in the rest of the set, hitting 22 winners and four unforced errors to deliver five good holds and take it 6-4, moving just a set away from the title.

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 get broken after four errors, allowing Pete to serve for the title in the next game.

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 it inside the top-3.