ThrowbackTimes Indian Wells: Pete Sampras edges Stefan Edberg to hit title match

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ThrowbackTimes Indian Wells: Pete Sampras edges Stefan Edberg to hit title match

In the fifth edition of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event, Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, Petr Korda and Aaron Kriscksten stayed in the battle for the title after the quarter-final round, with seeds 1 and 3 fighting for the place in the final.

Sampras couldn't find the winning formula in the first five trips to the desert, winning only seven matches and changing that in 1994 when he went all the way to claim the third Masters 1000 crown. In the semis, the Australian Open champion took down the first Indian Wells Masters 1000 winner Stefan Edberg 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in just under two hours for the fifth victory over the Swede in ten encounters.

It was a high-quality clash with more winners than unforced errors on both sides, including 75 service winners and 15 out of 18 break points they saved overall. Edberg created damage on the return in five different games, seizing only one out of eight opportunities and getting broken twice to propel Pete into the next round.

As was expected in the clash of two aggressive players with booming serves and exceptional volley abilities, the longer rallies barely existed and the winner had to come from the shortest exchanges up to four strokes and those mid-range ones where Sampras had a small advantage that carried him home.

The Swede fended off a break chance in the second game with a service winner and had a massive opportunity to move in front in the next game, with four chances up for grabs. Staying focused, Pete erased them all with unreturned serves and broke in the next game when Stefan hit a costly double fault, opening a 4-1 gap after a hold at 15.

The sixth game saw eight deuces and three break points for Sampras who couldn't convert any and forged an even bigger lead, although he served for the opener at 5-3. Edberg earned a break chance that the American denied with a powerful serve, bringing the game home with another service winner for a 6-3.

In the fourth game of the second set, the Swede landed a backhand down the line winner for a break opportunity, halted by a perfect volley from Sampras who held to level the score at 2-2. What he failed to do in that game, Stefan fixed in the next return game to open a 4-2 gap, holding at love in game seven and completing the set at 5-3 to set up a decider.

There, servers stood strong in the first six games before Pete had to play against a break point at 3-3, repelling it and producing one of the crucial holds of the entire clash. The American held at 15 in game nine and grabbed a break at 15 a couple of minutes later with a return winner to seal the deal and advance into the title match.