In an exhibition match between the giants of tennis present and
past, world No 1 Roger Federer defeated Pete Sampras in straight
sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Roger Federer of
Switzerland (right) and Pete Sampras shake hands after their
invitational exhibition tennis match in Seoul yesterday. Federer
won the match, 6-4, 6-3.[Photp: Sina.com]
The match in Seoul is the first of three Asian exhibitions the
two legends will play. The pair meet again Thursday in Kuala Lumpur
before heading to Macao two days later.
Sampras, 36, retired in 2002, a year after the only previous
meeting between the pair at Wimbledon 2001.
Federer won that fourth round match in five sets. If the Swiss
star - who lifted his fourth Masters Cup title Sunday in Shanghai -
expected an easier ride against the aging American, he was in for a
Sampras brought cheers from the crowd at Seoul's Olympic Tennis
Arena as he fired down two fierce aces in his first service
The balding Sampras proceeded to break his opponent's serve and
then moved 4-2 ahead courtesy of a delightful drop shot.
Pete Sampras [Photp:
"I feel a little disappointed," Sampras said in an on-court
interview after the match. "But I also feel happy to play Roger.
He's a great guy, a great player."
"I feel pretty good," Sampras later told Korean television after
the game. "I made it competitive, which was my goal. Obviously,
Roger is the best player in the world and I retired five years ago.
I am grateful that he invited me."
Federer was equally happy with the workout. "Pete was one of my
idols growing up and it's great to play him," Federer said. "It
wasn't easy for me, it wasn't easy for him as he's been retired
five years. I am No 1 and everyone expects me to win."
All the familiar trademark volleys and serves were on display,
but Sampras, who has won 14 Grand Slams to Federer's 12, was slower
around the court than in his 1990s heyday and made a number of
Roger Federer [Photp:
Federer took advantage of those to break Sampras' serve and take
the first set 6-4.
Apart from three successive lobs that Federer served up to his
opponent in the second game of the second set, the game was a
competitive, though light-hearted affair.
By that time, Federer was hitting his stride and took the second
set with a minimum of fuss.
"I have no plans to come back from retirement," said Sampras.
"You have to come back for a reason. I just stay home and watch
Roger win on television."
(China Daily via Agencies November 21, 2007)