STUTTGART, Germany — Pete Sampras, ranked number one in the world, enjoyed what he described as “a dream day’ on Friday, taking just under an hour to crush Andre Agassi in their quarter-final clash at the Stuttgart Open.
The three-times Wimbledon champion played some superb tennis on his way to a 6-4 6-1 victory in 57 minutes and afterwards rated the performance as one of his best ever.
“These are days you dream about,” the 25-year-old American said. “I was in a zone…everything I tried, it just clicked. I could not have played any better.”
Sampras and the 26-year-old Agassi have clashed in three major grand slam finals — the last in 1995 when Sampras won the U.S. Open in four sets.
Friday’s match, however, was no classic. Agassi, who needs some good results in the next few weeks to make sure of his place at next month’s season-ending world championship, was far from his best.
The Las Vegan, ranked ninth in the world, hit some brilliant returns but was not consistent enough to challenge the sport’s best player.
“I am still amazed the way Andre can return serve,” Sampras said. “But it was tough to beat me today…this was among the top five matches in my career as far as being in a great rhythm is concerned.
“I have never returned like that before. Playing Agassi forces you to do things like that.”
After the two Americans held their opening service games, the first set witnessed an extraordinary seven breaks of serve in eight games.
But Sampras kept his nerve, clinching the first set after 36 minutes when Agassi hit a forehand out.
Agassi never fully recovered his composure as Sampras ran away to a 5-0 lead in the second set on his way to victory.
In Saturday’s semifinals Sampras will meet Dutchman Jan Siemerink who beat Croatian fifth seed Goran Ivanisevic 6-3 7-6 in the first quarter-final of the day.