Flashback US Open: Pete Sampras wins battle of titans against Andre Agassi



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Flashback US Open: Pete Sampras wins battle of titans against Andre Agassi

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi performed their 32nd encounter in the 2001 US Open quarter-final at Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 6, with Sampras defeating the greatest rival 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 in three hours and 32 minutes!

Pete and Andre barely said a word during an epic encounter, failing to break each other in 48 games (22 games in a row without even a break chance), with Agassi saving six break points and Sampras repelling three, staying neck and neck from start to finish.

The crowd of 23,033 had the opportunity to watch two outstanding players at their best, with 20 Grand Slam titles among them, the most in a match since 1969 US Open quarter-final between Rod Laver and Roy Emerson! In the end, Pete won 14 points more than Andre thanks to those tie breaks, in what had been a great clash of two tennis giants who would meet in the final a year later.

Sampras had almost 80 winners and forced nearly the same number of errors from Andre who had the advantage in the unforced errors segment, spraying less than 20 mistakes while Pete counted to more than 40. The better server had a clear advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes, staying in touch with the more effective baseliner in the more extended exchanges to forge the victory and remain on the title course.

Agassi forced an error from Pete in the third game to earn a break point, denied by a service winner from Sampras who won four of the next five points with winners to avoid an early setback. In the next game, Pete created three break chances before hitting four straight errors, allowing Andre to bring the game home and level the score at 2-2.

Agassi held after deuce in game eight with two unreturned serves and Pete did the same in the game that followed, moving closer to a tie break.

In 2001 US Open quarter-final, Sampras defeated Agassi in a thriller.

They traded mini-breaks in the opening two points before Sampras grabbed another one at 3-4 after an unforced error from Andre who trailed 6-3 before performing a comeback.

He won the next four points to turn the scoreboard around and the opener was in his hands after an unforced volley error from Pete in the 16th point, performing a great steal and hoping for more of the same in the remaining sets.

Like in the opener, nothing could separate them in the second set and Sampras had no room for errors in the 12th game while serving to stay in the set. Pete hit three double faults but brought the game home with good serves, going on to grab the tie break 7-2 after a spectacular backhand volley winner at the net that changed the course of the scoreboard.

Sampras had to defend a break point in the third game of the third set with a backhand volley, closing the game with a service winner to keep his serve intact, with Agassi holding in the next one after two deuces, locking the score at 2-2 and staying competitive until the tie break.

It turned out to be similar to the previous one and Sampras clinched it 7-2 after three mini-breaks, moving ahead thanks to Andre's unforced errors and sealing the deal with two booming serves to forge two sets to one advantage.

With the momentum on his side, Sampras created two break chances at the beginning of the fourth set, with Agassi repelling them with four straight winners to stay unbroken. Andre had an opportunity to score the first break of the match at 4-3, unable to take another step as Sampras fired three service winners and created a break chance in the next game, only to spray three unforced errors to blow it and keep Agassi in.

We saw three good holds after that, and the fourth set went into a tie break, a must-win one for Andre. He led 3-1 before dropping the next five points, giving three match points to his nemesis and fending off the first two.

Pete Sampras converted the third when Agassi made an unforced backhand error in the 12th point, finishing this extraordinary clash and moving into the semis.