US OPEN 2002

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US OPEN

DAY 14 MENíS NOTES

FINAL

8 September 2002

  

NO. 6 ANDRE AGASSI (USA) v NO. 17 PETE SAMPRAS (USA)

 

 With No. 6-seed Andre Agassi playing No. 17-seed Pete Sampras in the menís singles final of the 2002 US Open Tennis Championships one day after the Williams sisters Ė Venus and Serena Ė played in the womenís singles final, the tournament has its first all-American menís and womenís singles finals since 1979. On Sept. 9, 1979, No. 3-seed Tracy Austin, at the age of 16 years, 8 months and 28 days, became the youngest US Open womenís singles champion, ending No. 1-seed Chris Evertís 31-match win streak at the tournament. The same day, No. 3-seed John McEnroe defeated No. 4-seed Vitas Gerulaitis in an all-New Yorker menís singles final.

 

U.S. men have now advanced to the US Open final 11 of the past 13 years. This will be the seventh title in that period for U.S. men, with now five of the finals being all-American affairs. Since 1990, no other single nation has had more than 10 Grand Slam tournament finalists, period. This includes those instances of all-countrymen finals. Nor has any other single nation collected more than four Grand Slam tournament titles in the past 12 years. As impressive as U.S. players have been at the US Open since 1990, stepping back to examine U.S. results in all of the majors shows that the United States will have produced 44 Grand Slam tournament finalists and snared 25 titles after today.

 

Nation

Titles (US Open)

Final Appearances (US Open)

United States

25 (7)

44(16)

Spain

4 (0)

10 (0)

Sweden

4 (2)

9 (2)

Australia

4 (3)

7 (4)

Germany

3 (0)

8 (1)

Russia

3 (1)

5 (1)

Brazil

3 (0)

3 (0)

Czech Republic

2 (0)

4 (0)

Ecuador

1 (0)

1 (0)

Austria

1 (0)

1 (0)

Croatia

1 (0)

4 (0)

Netherlands

1 (0)

1 (0)

France

0

3 (1)

Chile

0

1 (0)

Ukraine

0

1 (0)

Argentina

0

1 (0)

Great Britain

0

1 (1)

 

With Sampras having reached the US Open final the past two years, Agassi and Sampras have combined to win all six US Open titles for U.S. men since the lefty reign of Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe ended in 1984. Since 1990, no more than two years have passed without either Agassi or Sampras winning the US Open, a pattern that obviously remains in tact.

 Champions Race UpdateÖ the Countdown to Shanghai

 ince the ATP Champions Race concept began in 2000, the top six players in the Race at the conclusion of the US Open have gone on to compete in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, which is co-owned by the ATP, the ITF and the Grand Slam tournaments. This bodes well for Agassi, who will leave the US Open firmly in second place on the ATP Champions Race. Sampras, however, will have quite a bit of work ahead of him, since winning the US Open will only move him up to 12th place in the Race.

 

The top seven players in the Champions Race automatically qualify for the eight-player Tennis Masters Cup, to be held this year in Shanghai, China. The eighth spot goes to either a current Grand Slam tournament winner who isnít in the top eight but is within the top 20, or to the eighth player in the ATP Champions Race.

 

Updated ATP Champions Race

September 7, 2002

 

Pos.

Player

Pts. at 8/26/2002

US Open Pts.

Total Pts.

1

Lleyton Hewitt

600

90

690

2

Andre Agassi

414

140*

554

3

Marat Safin

423

7

430

4

Tim Henman

405

15

420

T5

Albert Costa

386

7

393

T5

Carlos Moya

386

7

393

T5

Juan Carlos Ferrero

378

15

393

8

Tommy Haas

355

30

385

9

Andy Roddick

333

50

383

10

Roger Federer

326

30

356

11

Jiri Novak

319

30

349

12

Guillermo Canas

329

0

329

13

Thomas Johansson

312

0

312

14

Alex Corretja

281

15

296

15

Pete Sampras

147

140*

287

16

Younes El Aynaoui

235

50

285

17

David Nalbandian

283

1

284

18

Gaston Gaudio

264

15

279

19

Sjeng Schalken

169

90

259

20

Fernando Gonzalez

201

50

251

            * - Points for reaching the final.

NO. 6 ANDRE AGASSI (USA) v NO. 17 PETE SAMPRAS (USA)

 

Head-to-head: Sampras leads 19-14

 

Agassi-Sampras is the 34th edition of one of the greatest U.S. menís tennis rivalries of the Open Era. Sampras holds the overall lead in the head-to-head series, at 19-14, having won their past two meetings, which includes their classic confrontation in the quarterfinals of the 2001 US Open. Sampras won that quarterfinal in four tie-break sets in which neither player lost his serve. It was Samprasís fifth Grand Slam tournament victory against Agassi in eight such matchups.

 

Agassi vs. Sampras in Grand Slam tournaments

Event

Round

Winner

Score

1990 US Open

Final

Sampras

64 63 62

1992 Roland Garros

Quarterfinals

Agassi

76 62 61

1993 Wimbledon

Quarterfinals

Sampras

62 62 36 36 64

1995 Australian Open

Final

Agassi

46 61 76 64

1995 US Open

Final

Sampras

64 63 46 75

1999 Wimbledon

Final

Sampras

63 64 75

2000 Australian Open

Semifinals

Agassi

64 36 67 76 61

2001 US Open

Quarterfinals

Sampras

67 76 76 76

 

Perhaps the only Open Era U.S. menís tennis rivalry comparable to that between Agassi and Sampras is the Jimmy Connors-John McEnroe rivalry that featured 34 matches during a span of 15 years. (For the record, McEnroe holds a 20-14 advantage in that series, including 6-3 in Grand Slam tournaments.)

 

This is the 16th time Agassi and Sampras have met in a tournament final. Sampras holds the edge in those encounters as well, having won eight finals to Agassiís seven. It has been three years since they played in a Grand Slam tournament final, that coming at 1999 Wimbledon, where Sampras won 63 64 75 to take a 3-1 advantage in their Grand Slam tournament final head-to-head encounters.

 

Interestingly, the last Agassi-Sampras match before this was also in a USTA event. They met in the semifinals of the 2002 U.S. Menís Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas. Sampras won 61 75, ending Agassiís month-long nine-match winning streak. Agassi was unable to break Samprasís serve in Houston as well, meaning Agassi has not broken Sampras in their past two matches.

 

Considering that last yearís quarterfinal match between Agassi and Sampras was decided by four tie-break sets, it must be said that Sampras is the all-time Open Era leader in tie-breaks won and Agassi ranks 10th.

Open Era Tiebreak Leaders (Active)

Rank

Player

Tiebreak record

1.

Pete Sampras

328-194

2.

Goran Ivanisevic

269-205

3.

Greg Rusedski

210-162

4.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

203-156

5.

Marc Rosset

195-146

6.

Todd Martin

175-131

7.

Richard Krajicek

167-158

8.

Wayne Ferreira

165-162

9.

Cedric Pioline

162-139

10.

Andre Agassi

155-129

 Ageless Wonders

With Agassi age 32 years, 4 months and 10 days on the day of the men's final, and Sampras age 31 years, 27 days, this is the first US Open final between two 30-something men in the Open Era. It is the first final between 30-plus men at any Grand Slam tournament since the 1972 Australian Open, when 37-year-old Ken Rosewall defeated 36-year-old Mal Anderson for the title. There have been two other such finals in the Open Era: at the 1969 Australian Open, when Rod Laver, age 30, defeated Andres Gimeno, age 31, and at 1969 Roland Garros, when Laver, still 30, defeated Rosewall, age 34.

 Additionally, the 2002 US Open men's final will be the oldest final played at the event in the Open Era, and the joint third-oldest at any Grand Slam tournament. The 1972 Australian Open final between Rosewall and Anderson heads the Open Era list for the oldest.

 

Grand Slam Tournament

Finalists

Average Age

1972 Australian Open

Ken Rosewall (37) d. Mal Anderson (36)  76 63 75

36.5

1969 Roland Garros

Rod Laver (30) d. Ken Rosewall (34)  64 63 64

32

1971 Australian Open

Ken Rosewall (36) d. Arthur Ashe (27)  61 75 63

31.5

2002 US Open

Andre Agassi (32) v Pete Sampras (31)

31.5

1968 Roland Garros

Ken Rosewall (33) d. Rod Laver (29)  63 61 26 62

31

 

Both Agassi and Sampras are battling to become the oldest US Open champion since 1970, when Ken Rosewall lifted the trophy at the age of 35. If Agassi wins, he will become the oldest champion at any Grand Slam tournament since Andres Gimeno won the 1972 Roland Garros title at the age of 34. Sampras would be the oldest Grand Slam tournament champion since Arthur Ashe won 1975 Wimbledon aged 31 years, 11 months.

30 and Older Grand Slam Tournament Singles Champions (Open Era)

Age

Player

Grand Slam Event

30 yrs, 9 days

Petr Korda

1998 Australian Open

30 yrs, 10 days

Jimmy Connors

1982 US Open

30 yrs, 3 months, 14 days

Andres Gomez

1990 Roland Garros

30 yrs, 5 months, 18 days

Rod Laver

1969 Australian Open

30 yrs, 7 months, 9 days

John Newcombe

1975 Australian Open

30 yrs, 8 months, 29 days

Andre Agassi

2001 Australian Open

30 yrs, 9 months, 30 days

Rod Laver

1969 Roland Garros

30 yrs, 10 months, 26 days

Rod Laver

1969 Wimbledon

31 yrs, 9 days

Jimmy Connors

1983 US Open

31 yrs, 1 month

Rod Laver

1969 US Open

31 yrs, 11 months, 25 days

Arthur Ashe

1975 Wimbledon

33 yrs, 7 months, 2 days

Ken Rosewall

1968 Roland Garros

34 yrs, 10 months, 1 day

Andres Gimeno

1972 Roland Garros

35 yrs, 10 months, 11 days

Ken Rosewall

1970 US Open

36 yrs, 2 months, 12 days

Ken Rosewall

1971 Australian Open

37 yrs, 2 months, 1 day

Ken Rosewall

1972 Australian Open

 

In addition to the nine men above who have combined for 16 Grand Slam tournament singles titles after their 30th birthdays, eight men 30 and older have combined for 11 runner-up finishes in Grand Slam tournaments, Sampras being the most recent in the 2001 US Open.

30 and Older Grand Slam Tournament Singles Runners-up (Open Era)

Age

Player

Grand Slam Event

30 yrs, 28 days

Pete Sampras

2001 US Open

30 yrs, 10 months, 20 days

Ivan Lendl

1991 Australian Open

31 yrs, 5 months, 24 days

Andres Gimeno

1969 Australian Open

31 yrs, 7 months, 12 days

John Newcombe

1976 Australian Open

31 yrs, 10 months, 6 days

Jimmy Connors

1984 Wimbledon

33 yrs, 9 months, 7 days

Niki Pilic

1973 Roland Garros

34 yrs, 7 months, 6 days

Ken Rosewall

1969 Roland Garros

35 yrs, 8 months, 2 days

Ken Rosewall

1970 Wimbledon

36 yrs, 10 months

Mal Anderson

1972 Australian Open

39 yrs, 8 months, 4 days

Ken Rosewall

1974 Wimbledon

39 yrs, 10 months, 6 days

Ken Rosewall

1974 US Open

 Grand Slam Tournament Leaders

Agassi and Sampras are among the all-time leaders in Grand Slam tournament singles titles, with Sampras having won 13 titles for the all-time lead. Agassi could move up to a tie for sixth place on the list if he wins the 2002 US Open.

 

 

Player

Total G.S. Singles Titles

1.

Pete Sampras

13

2.

Roy Emerson

12

3.

Bjorn Borg

11

 

Rod Laver

11

5.

Bill Tilden

10

6.

Jimmy Connors

8

 

Ivan Lendl

8

 

Fred Perry

8

 

Ken Rosewall

8

10.

Andre Agassi

7

 

Henri Cochet

7

 

Rene Lacoste

7

 

William Larned

7

 

John McEnroe

7

 

John Newcombe

7

 

William Renshaw

7

 

Richard Sears

7

 

Mats Wilander

7

 

Perhaps not to surprisingly since they are among the all-time leaders in Grand Slam tournament singles titles, Agassi and Sampras are also among the leaders in Grand Slam tournament matches won.

 

 

 

Overall

US Open

1

JIMMY CONNORS

233-49

98-17

2

IVAN LENDL

222-49

73-13

3
PETE SAMPRAS

202-38

70-9

4
ANDRE AGASSI

182-41

62-14

5

STEFAN EDBERG

178-47

43-12

6

JOHN MCENROE

167-38

65-12

7

BORIS BECKER

163-40

37-10

8

MATS WILANDER

144-37

36-11

9

BJORN BORG

141-17

40-10

10

GUILLERMO VILAS

139-45

43-14

11
MICHAEL CHANG

120-54

43-16

12

JIM COURIER

118-38

24-10

13
GORAN IVANISEVIC

108-49

21-13

14

ARTHUR ASHE**

106-28

38-9

15

STAN SMITH**

102-41

35-15

16

ILIE NASTASE

  97-41

29-14

17

YEVGENY KAFELNIKOV

  95-32

22-8

18

JOHN NEWCOMBE**

  93-21

27-6

 

TODD MARTIN

  93-41

30-13

20

KEN ROSEWALL**

  92-19

30-6

 

WAYNE FERREIRA

  92-48

17-12

22

ROSCOE TANNER

  90-33

40-16

** - Also played pre-Open Era matches.

 

Sampras won his 70th US Open match in his semifinal, and moved ahead of R. Norris Williams into fifth place on the all-time US Open/U.S. Championships singles match wins list. If Sampras wins today he will move into a tie for fourth place with Bill Tilden. Agassi, having moved ahead of Ken Rosewall and Bill Johnston during the tournament, is in eighth place with 62 match wins after the semis. (See page 36 of the US Open Media Guide for the complete list.)

Most US Open/U.S. Championships Singles Matches Won

Rank

Matches Won

Player (Years played)

1.

98

Jimmy Connors (1970-89, í91-92)

2.

75

Vic Seixas (1940-69)

3.

73

Ivan Lendl (1979-94)

4.

71

Bill Tilden (1916-30)

5.

70

Pete Sampras (1988-present)

6.

69

R. Norris Williams (1912-35)

7.

65

John McEnroe (1977-92)

8.

62

Andre Agassi (1986-present)

9.

58

Bill Johnston (1914-27)

10

56

Ken Rosewall (1952-56; í68-77)

Interestingly, about the only category in which Agassi leads Sampras is in total hard court titles. In fact, Agassi leads all players in the Open Era, having won 40 titles on this surface.

Hard Court Title Leaders

Player

Hard Court Titles

Last Hard Court Title (active players only)

Andre Agassi

40

2002 Los Angeles

Pete Sampras

35

2000 TMS Miami

Ivan Lendl

27

 

Jimmy Connors

23

 

Michael Chang

21

2000 Los Angeles

John McEnroe

21

 

Stefan Edberg

20

 

Boris Becker

16

 

Jim Courier

16

 

Brad Gilbert

14

 

Thomas Enqvist

13

2002 Marseille*

Wayne Ferreira

10

2000 TMS Stuttgart*

Lleyton Hewitt

10

2002 TMS Indian Wells

* - played on indoor hard court

 

Agassi

vs.

Sampras

 

 

 

32

Age

31

6

Entry System Position

17

53

Titles

63

182-41

Career Grand Slam Record

202-38

7 titles

í95/2000/2001 Australian Open

í99 Roland Garros

í92 Wimbledon

í94/í99 US Open

Best Grand Slam Result

13 titles

í94/í97Australian Open
í93-95/í97-00 Wimbledon
í90/í93/í95-96 US Open

62-14

US Open Record

70-9

731-226

Career Record

761-222

479-125

Career Record Ė Hard

428-104

46-7

2002 Record

26-17

32-4

2002 Record Ė Hard

19-8

22-18

Career Five-Set Record

33-15

4

Comebacks from 0-2 down

5

155-129

Career Tie-break Record

328-194

6-11

2002 Tie-break Record

16-14

11:27

Total Time On Court

13:27

 

Road to the Semifinals

Agassi

Time

 

Time

Sampras

 d. Robby Ginepri 63 63 63

1:25

1st Round

1:34

 d. Albert Portas 61 64 64

 d. (WC) Justin Gimelstob 60 61 61

1:05

2nd Round

1:39

 d. Kristian Pless 63 75 64

 d. Ramon Delgado 62 61 62

1:29

3rd Round

3:22

 d. No. 33 Greg Rusedski 76 46 76 36 64

 d. Jan-Michael Gambill 62 63 63

1:40

Round of 16

3:02

 d. No. 3 Tommy Haas 75 64 67 75

 d. No. 32 Max Mirnyi 67 63 75 63

2:51

Quarterfinals

1:29

 d. No. 11 Andy Roddick 63 62 64

 d. No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 64 76 67 62

2:57

Semifinals

2:21

 d. No. 24 Sjeng Schalken 76 76 62

 

 

Sets Won/Lost

Games Won/Lost

Agassi

18-2

122-61

Sampras

18-3

128-93

 

         With his 64 76 67 62 defeat of Lleyton Hewitt, Agassi advanced to the US Open final for the fifth time in 17 appearances. Agassi last defeated the tournament's defending champion 12 years ago, also in the semifinals, in 1990 eliminating 1989 champion Boris Becker 67 63 62 63. (He lost in the final that year to Sampras, 64 63 62.)

 

         Agassi's defeat of Hewitt marked the sixth time overall that he has defeated the defending champion of a Grand Slam event. Three times he has gone on to win the title of the tournament (two of these encounters with defending champions coming in finals).

 

Agassi Eliminating the Defending Champion

Tournament

Defending Champion Beaten

Eventual finish

1990 Roland Garros

Defeated Michael Chang 61 62 46 62 in QFs

Runner-up

1990 US Open

Defeated Boris Becker 67 63 62 63 in SFs

Runner-up

1995 Australian Open

Defeated Pete Sampras 46 61 76 64 in final

Champion

1999 Roland Garros

Defeated Carlos Moya 46 75 75 61 in R16

Champion

2000 Australian Open

Defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov 36 63 62 64 in final

Champion

2002 US Open

Defeated Lleyton Hewitt 64 76 67 62

???

 

         This is Agassi's first appearance in a Grand Slam tournament final since the 2001 Australian Open, which he won to claim his seventh Grand Slam title (defeating Arnaud Clement 64 62 62).

 

         Sampras is the fourth American that Agassi has faced at the 2002 US Open, but this is not rare for him. Three times previously in his Grand Slam career, Agassi has played four or more Americans: most recently at the 1996 Australian Open he played four, and he played five at the 1988 US Open and four at the 1989 US Open. At the 1988 US Open, Agassi played fellow-Americans in five consecutive matches to reach the semifinals, but was eliminated by then-Czech Ivan Lendl, who became an American citizen in 1992. In fact, Agassi has never previously made the final of a Grand Slam event after playing so many countrymen.

 

         With his three wins against Americans here, Agassi has boosted his win-loss record against U.S. players to 202-76. He has won six of his last seven matches against countrymen, with the exception being his loss to James Blake, 63 64, in the semifinals at Washington a few weeks ago. In Grand Slam tournament play, Agassi has a 43-17 record, 23-6 at the US Open.

 

         Agassi has a 7-5 win-loss record in Grand Slam tournament finals, 2-2 at the US Open.

 

Agassi in Grand Slam Tournament Finals

Event

Opponent

Agassiís Result

1990 Roland Garros

Andres Gomez

Lost 63 26 64 64

1990 US Open

Pete Sampras

Lost 64 63 62

1991 Roland Garros

Jim Courier

Lost 36 64 26 61 64

1992 Wimbledon

Goran Ivanisevic

Won 67 64 64 16 64

1994 US Open

Michael Stich

Won 61 76 75

1995 Australian Open

Pete Sampras

Won 46 61 76 64

1995 US Open

Pete Sampras

Lost 64 63 46 75

1999 Roland Garros

Andrei Medvedev

Won 16 26 64 63 64

1999 Wimbledon

Pete Sampras

Lost 63 64 75

1999 US Open

Todd Martin

Won 64 67 67 63 62

2000 Australian Open

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Won 36 63 62 64

2001 Australian Open

Arnaud Clement

Won 64 62 62

2002 US Open

Pete Sampras

????

 

         Up to the quarterfinals, Agassi lost fewer games than he has ever lost through the first four rounds of a Grand Slam tournament. The best display of the ease with which Agassi has been winning his matches came in the second round when he conceded the fewest games of any best-of-five-set match he has played in his career, overpowering wild card Justin Gimelstob 60 61 61 in one hour five minutes. The previous fewest games Agassi had lost was three.

 

         Agassi has lost only two sets en route to the 2002 US Open final, but figuring that his match against Sampras could be a classic, it is interesting to note that Agassiís last five-set match at the US Open was in the 1999 final, where he defeated Todd Martin 64 67 67 63 62. Agassi has a 5-2 win-loss record in US Open five-set matches, and while he has come back from two-sets-to-love down four times in his career, he has never done so at the US Open. However, his two five-set losses here were in matches in which he lost the first two sets.

 

Agassi in US Open Five-Set Matches

Year

Round

Opponent

Agassiís Result

1989

QF

Jimmy Connors

won 61 46 06 63 64

1993

1st Rd.

Thomas Enqvist

lost 64 64 36 67 62

1994

R16

Michael Chang

won 61 67 63 36 61

1995

2nd Rd.

Alex Corretja

won 57 63 57 60 62

1998

2nd Rd.

Guillaume Raoux

won 63 62 67 36 61

 

R16

Karol Kucera

lost 63 63 67 16 63

1999

F

Todd Martin

won 64 67 67 63 62

 

         Agassi advancing all the way to the 2002 US Open quarterfinals without losing a set marked the sixth time in his career that he has reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set. The last occurrence was at 2001 Wimbledon, where Agassi defeated Peter Wessels, Jaime Delgado, Nicolas Massu and Nicolas Kiefer in straight sets, before facing Nicolas Escude in the quarterfinals. (Agassi defeated Escude 67 63 64 62, but then lost in the semifinals to Aussie Patrick Rafter 26 63 36 62 86.)

 

         In Agassiís five previous straight-sets trips to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament, he did not win as convincingly as he has won here. The 24 games Agassi lost in reaching the quarterfinals here were the fewest he had ever allowed when reaching the quarterfinals in straight sets.

 

         The only time previously that Agassi had a straight-sets journey to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament and actually won the event was at the 1995 Australian Open. He won in straight sets all the way to the final, defeating Yevgeny Kafelnikov 62 75 60 in the quarterfinals and Aaron Krickstein 64 64 30 ret. in the semifinals. In the final, Agassi lost the first set, but went on to defeat Pete Sampras 46 61 76 64.

 

         For Agassi, the 2002 US Open has been very similar to 2002 Los Angeles, which he won to kick start the North American summer hard court season. Max Mirnyi is the third player Agassi has played in the US Open after playing him almost six weeks ago at Los Angeles. As stated above, Agassi defeated Robby Ginepri in the first round here, having beaten him 63 61 in the second round at Los Angeles. Agassi defeated Jan-Michael in the round of 16 here, having beaten him 62 64 in the final at Los Angeles. The only players Agassi defeated in Los Angeles but did not face here were Kenneth Carlsen and Gustavo Kuerten.

 

         Agassi has made more US Open appearances than any other man in the 2002 draw. This is his 17th US Open. Including the 2002 US Open, Agassi has played a total of 49 Grand Slam tournaments in his career, placing him joint-10th on the all-time Open Era list of Grand Slams played (more details are on page 10 of the Preview).

 

         At the 2001 US Open, Agassi, as the No. 2 seed, lost in the quarterfinals, as stated above, to Sampras 67 76 76 76.

 

         While he has played a rather limited schedule this year, Agassi has been spectacular none the less. He has won four titles, tying him for the tour lead alongside Lleyton Hewitt and Carlos Moya. Three of Agassiís four titles came on hard court: Scottsdale, where he defeated Juan Balcells 62 76 in the final, TMS Miami, where he defeated Roger Federer 63 63 36 64 in the final, and Los Angeles, where he defeated Jan-Michael Gambill 62 64 in the final. Agassi also won on clay at TMS Rome, defeating Tommy Haas 63 63 60.

 

         Agassi has had only two early losses in the 11 tournaments he has completed thus far in 2002. At TMS Indian Wells, his third event of the year, Agassi lost in the first round to Michel Kratochvil 76 76 just days after winning the title at Scottsdale. At Wimbledon, Agassi lost in the second round to Paradorn Srichaphan 64 76 62.

 

         Four-time US Open champion Sampras is playing in his third consecutive US Open final. He is the first man to reach three straight US Open menís finals since Ivan Lendl completed his stretch of eight consecutive menís singles finals, 1982-89. For the whole of the Open Era, only three men have played in three consecutive US Open finals. Extending back into the pre-Open Era, a total of 10 men Ė including the three stated above Ė have reached at least three consecutive menís singles finals in the U.S. Championships/ US Open.

Player

Consecutive Finals

Years

Ivan Lendl

8

1982-89

Bill Tilden

8

1918-25

Richard Sears

7

1881-87

Jimmy Connors

5

1974-78

Maurice McLoughlin

5

1911-15

Robert Wrenn

5

1893-97

Bill Johnston

4

1922-25

Bill Larned

4

1900-03

Henry Slocum

4

1887-90

Pete Sampras

3

2000-02

John McEnroe

3

1979-81

                        Pre-Open Era players in italics

         At the 2001 US Open, Sampras was runner-up for the second consecutive year, losing in the final to Lleyton Hewitt 76 61 61 and handing the Australian his first Grand Slam tournament title. In 2000, Sampras also lost the final in straight sets, falling 64 63 63 to give Marat Safin his first Grand Slam tournament crown.

 

         Returning to the US Open menís singles final for a third year in a row puts Sampras in a tie with Ivan Lendl for the Open Era record for total singles finals played, the record being eight. Including pre-Open Era records, Sampras is two off the all-time tournament record for final appearances.

 

Player

Total U.S. Championships/
US Open Finals

Years

Bill Tilden

10

1918-25, í27, í29

Bill Larned

10

1900-03, í06-11

Bill Johnston

9

1915-16, í19-25

Pete Sampras

8

1990, í92-93, í95-96, 2000-02

Ivan Lendl

8

1982-89

Richard Sears

7

1881-87

Jimmy Connors

7

1974-78, í82-83

Maurice McLoughlin

5

1911-15

Robert Wrenn

5

1893-97

            Pre-Open Era players in italics

          Sampras has the chance to end his 33-tournament title draught while winning his record-extending 14th Grand Slam tournament title. That being said, it is interesting to note that 2002 Roland Garros champion Albert Costa won his first Grand Slam tournament title by ending a 65-tournament title draught.

The Sampras Bakerís Dozen

Of Grand Slam Tournament Titles

1.

1990 US Open

2.

1993 Wimbledon

3.

1993 US Open

4.

1994 Australian Open

5.

1994 Wimbledon

6.

1995 Wimbledon

7.

1995 US Open

8.

1996 US Open

9.

1997 Australian Open

10.

1997 Wimbledon

11.

1998 Wimbledon

12.

1999 Wimbledon

13.

2000 Wimbledon

 

         Sampras winning the 2002 US Open would mark six years since his last title here in 1996. That is the longest span between US Open titles in the Open Era, one year longer than the period between Agassi winning the US Open in 1994 and again in 1999. The longest span between U.S. titles Ė Open Era or not Ė is 14 years, the period between Ken Rosewall winning the U.S. Championships as an amateur in 1956 and winning the US Open as a pro in 1970.

 

         Since Sampras won his record-breaking 13th Grand Slam title at 2000 Wimbledon, the US Open has been his most successful major by far. He has not advanced beyond the round of 16 at any of the other three Grand Slam events since then.

 

         Sampras, who won his previous US Open titles in 1990, í93, í95 and í96, has the chance to tie Jimmy Connors in fourth place on the all-time most U.S. singles titles list. The current standings are as follows:

Pos.

Player (titles)

Years Won

1.

Richard Sears (7)

1881-87

--

Bill Larned (7)

1901-02; 1907-11

--

Bill Tilden (7)

1920-25, 1929

4.

Jimmy Connors (5)

1974, 1976, 1978, 1982-83

5.

Bob Wrenn (4)

1893-94, 1896-97

--

John McEnroe (4)

1979-81, 1984

--

Pete Sampras (4)

1990, 1993, 1995-96

 

         Samprasís career record in Grand Slam tournament finals is 13-4, with three of the four losses having come at the US Open: in 1992 to Stefan Edberg, in 2000 to Marat Safin and in 2001 to Lleyton Hewitt. Sampras also lost in the 1995 Australian Open final to Agassi.

 

         Sampras reached his seventh US Open final last year in style. He defeated former US Open champions in three consecutive matches, becoming the first man to do so in a single US Open. He overcame 1997-98 champion Patrick Rafter 63 62 67 64 in the round of 16, then defeated 1994 and 1999 champion Andre Agassi 67 76 76 76 in a quarterfinal match dubbed the match of the tournament; neither player lost his serve and both receiving a standing ovation from the crowd just before the fourth-set tie-break. In the semifinals, Sampras defeated 2000 champion Safin 63 76 63, avenging his loss to Safin in the 2000 final.

 

         En route to the 2002 US Open semifinals, Sampras played his first five-set match in this event in four years when he defeated No. 33 seed Greg Rusedski 76 46 76 36 64 in the third round. Before that Sampras had not played a five-set match at the US Open since his semifinal loss to Patrick Rafter, 67 64 26 64 63, in 1998. Sampras had not won a five-set match before defeating Rusedski since he defeated Alex Corretja 76 57 57 64 76 in the quarterfinals of the 1996 US Open.

 

         Samprasís victory against Tommy Haas in the round of 16 was his 200th match win in a Grand Slam tournament. Sampras is third on the all-time Open Era list of Grand Slam tournament matches won.

 

         Samprasís victory against Andy Roddick extended his winning streak against Americans in the US Open to 12 matches. Having faced at least one U.S. foe in 11 of the 14 years he has played the event, Sampras has not lost to a compatriot in this tournament since losing to Jim Courier 62 76 76 in the quarterfinals of the 1991 US Open.

 

         Sampras is competing in his 14th US Open, having won the title here in 1990, 1993 and 1995-96. With runner-up finishes the past two years here, Sampras has lost before the US Open final only three times in the past 10 years, although he did not play in 1999 because of a back injury (herniated disc). In that 10-year period, Samprasís non-final years were 1994, when he lost in the fourth round to Jaime Yzaga 36 63 46 76 75, 1997, when he lost in the fourth round to Petr Korda 67 75 76 36 76, and 1998, when he lost in the semifinals to Patrick Rafter 67 64 26 64 63.

 

         At No. 17, this is Sampras's lowest Grand Slam tournament seeding. But for the extension of Grand Slam seedings to include 32 men (which started at 2001 Wimbledon), Sampras would not be seeded at this year's US Open. The last time Sampras played the US Open unseeded was in 1989 (he reached the round of 16).

 

         Sampras's only final of the year was, somewhat surprisingly, on clay at Houston. He lost there to defending champion Roddick 76 63. Sampras's best hard court result in 2002 before the US Open was a semifinal finish at TMS Indian Wells, where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt 62 64. Sampras had a disappointing pre-US Open summer hard court season, with his best performance being a third round finish at TMS Toronto, where he lost to Tommy Haas.