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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Pete Sampras struggled in his first match since Wimbledon, but raised his game to eliminate Chris Woodruff 7-5, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Sampras needed 77 minutes and delivered 12 aces to one for Woodruff in the first-round match at the Mercedes Benz Cup.

``It has been a long break since Wimbledon and it's good to put it on the line,'' he said. ``It was very difficult after Wimbledon. It was a close match, it was a tough loss. It does get tougher as you get older. I should have won this year, but I came up short.''

Sampras lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon to Roger Federer of Switzerland. Sampras has won the tournament seven times.

As far as Woodruff is concerned, Sampras said, ``I got a good start and picked it up in the second. Chris has beaten me before.''

Sampras loss 7-6, 6-2 to Woodruff in February in the second round at Memphis.

Sampras' next opponent will be defending champion Michael Chang on Wednesday night.

Fifth-seeded Jan-Michael Gambill and eighth-seeded Tommy Haas were straight-set winners earlier Tuesday.

Gambill, from Clobber, Wash., needed exactly one hour to beat American Michael Joyce 6-1, 6-3, while Haas, of Germany, took 67 minutes for his victory over South Korea's Hyung-Taik Lee, 6-4, 6-4.

Tuesday night's featured matches paired third-seeded Andre Agassi against American James Blake, followed by U.S. teen sensation Andy Roddick versus U.S. Open champion Marat Safin of Russia.