Sampras' Reign Over

Pete Sampras AP

Pete Sampras' masterful run at Wimbledon ended stunningly Monday, his bid for a record-tying eighth title stopped by teen-ager Roger Federer.

The defending champion and winner seven of the last eight years, Sampras was upset 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 in the fourth round. It was the American's earliest exit at the grass-court event in 10 years.

Gone are Sampras' 31-match Wimbledon winning streak and the chance to match Bjorn Borg's five consecutive titles from 1976-80. And Willie Renshaw's record of eight overall championships, set in the 1880s, is still safe.

All at the hands of the 19-year-old Federer, who lost in the first round in both of his other appearances at Wimbledon and has one career title to Sampras' 63.

Federer, a Swiss player seeded 15th, used a strong serve to keep Sampras off-balance.

When Federer hit a forehand on a return to break Sampras' serve and win the match, he dropped to his knees and raised a hand toward his face. Then he stood up and shook hands with Sampras.

Federer raised his arms and blew a kiss to the crowd. He appeared teary-eyed as he collected his equipment. Sampras, his face showing little expression, sat down briefly before the players walked off together.

Sampras was unbeaten in his five other five-set matches in his Wimbledon career and stayed stuck on 99 grass-court wins. Only 13 players have more.

Federer will play Todd Martin or Tim Henman in the quarterfinals.



By Howard Ulman
© MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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