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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Instant Classic: Sampras edges Agassi at U.S. Open

ESPN Classic will present Pete Sampras' 2001 U.S. Open quarterfinal victory over Andre Agassi as an"Instant Classic" on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. In a match in which neither player allowed his serve to be broken, Sampras edged Agassi 6-7 (7), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) in a memorable three-hour, 32-minute match. Sampras defeated former U.S. Open winners Patrick Rafter, Agassi and Marat Safin to reach the finals before losing to champion Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras is in a 17-tournament slump, but it didn't show against Andre Agassi.
Sampras, perhaps the game's best server ever, and Agassi, one of history's best returners, engaged in a match that featured four tie-breakers, on Sept. 5. That's the same number of tiebreakers that Sampras and Agassi have combined on in eight previous Grand Slam meetings.

After winning the first set, everything appeared to be in Agassi's favor. He had previously won 49 of 50 matches at the U.S. Open after winning the first set. And the winner of the first set had taken 24 of the 31 previous matches between Sampras and Agassi.

But it was Sampras who would would take the next two tiebreakers with relative ease, 7-2, 7-2. In the fourth and final set, Sampras had three match points and Agassi saved two of them. However, when a Agassi's last gasp forehand sailed into the net, it was another disappointing finish for Agassi, he fell to 0-3 against Sampras at the Open, including losses in the 1990 and '95 finals. Sampras leads the overall series, 18-14.

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