On this day: Pete Sampras edges Andre Agassi for third US Open crown


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On this day: Pete Sampras edges Andre Agassi for third US Open crown

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were on a different level compared to other players back in 1995, staying at the top of the ATP rankings and playing for the big titles throughout the season. Andre claimed titles at the Australian Open, Miami and Montreal while Pete conquered Indian Wells and the US Open, prevailing against the defending champion Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 on September 10 for the third US Open title in the last six editions.

Andre was the slight favorite after entering the final with 26 wins in a row, his career-best streak that started after losing in the semi-final of Wimbledon and spreading through Washington, Montreal, Cincinnati and New Haven, edging Becker in the semi-final here in New York to set Sampras clash.

The encounter lasted two hours and 28 minutes and it was Sampras who made the difference with his serve and volleys, firing 59 unreturned serves and adding 13 winners from his volley to keep the points on his racquet and gain the advantage in the pivotal moments.

Agassi couldn't solve the rival's first serve but did enough on the second to create six break chances, converting two but suffering three breaks from seven opportunities offered to Pete, hitting the exit door in four sets.

Sampras lost just two sets en route to the title match and did everything right against Agassi as well, staying in touch with a great rival in the more challenging rallies and outplaying him in the quickest points with those booming serves that Andre failed to control.

Pete became only the fourth player with three titles at Wimbledon and US Open and the seventh who claimed both Majors in the same season, joining some great players on that list and continuing his quest towards the place among the immortals.

This was their 17th meeting (8-8) and Pete was the first to experience troubles on serve after a double fault at 2-2, repelling a break chance with a service winner and stealing Agassi's serve at 5-4 following a backhand crosscourt winner after a 22-shot rally.

Sampras erased a break point at the beginning of the second set as well, this time with a forehand winner, breaking Andre in game two after a terrible forehand error from his opponent. Serving for the set at 5-3, Pete defended a break opportunity with an unreturned serve, firing two more to open up a 6-4, 6-3 lead.

Agassi couldn't find the range that carried him into the final, suffering a break again in the third game of the third set after a forehand winner from Sampras who made another giant step towards the title. Out of sudden, Andre pulled the break back in the very next game and grabbed another one with a forehand winner at 5-4 to clinch the set and stay in contention, hoping for more of the same on the title defense trail.

He survived a challenging service game in the opening stages of the fourth set and nothing could have separated them before the 11th game when Agassi sprayed a forehand error to give his serve away, sending Pete 6-5 up and drifting further away from the positive result.

Three service winners in that 12th game were enough for Sampras to seal the deal, crossing the finish line with an ace to start a massive celebration of his third US Open crown.