Michael Stich of Germany stood up to the 93-degree heat bett
MASON, Ohio (AP) _ Michael Stich of Germany stood up to the 93-degree heat better than Pete Sampras today, moving into the semifinals of the $1.8 million ATP Championship with a 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory over the No.2 seed.
Stich, the No.8 seed, faltered only once, failing to hold serve in the eighth game of the second set, while Sampras had trouble all day controlling his powerful serve.
By early in the second set, it was evident that Sampras was drained from two grueling days of competition
Earlier, 13th-seeded Thomas Enqvist of Sweden eliminated the No.6 seed, Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. Ivanisevic was fined $750 for uttering an obscenity, and $1,000 for refusing to attend a post-match news conference.
Andre Agassi found one comforting thing about his spooky match Thursday night: It didn’t take long.
``A 1:08 match _ about right,″ Agassi decided.
That’s the only thing that went absolutely right for the world’s top player. He sped through one of the most up-and-down matches of his career advancing to the quarterfinals.
Agassi did everything right in the first set against 16th-seed Alberto Berasategui in the first set, did everything wrong in the second, then recovered for a 6-0, 0-6, 6-2 win.
``Those are dangerous situations,″ Agassi said. ``I was thinking, `I’ve got a problem on my hands.′ ″
His overall superiority over Berasategui, a baseline specialist, pulled him through and set up a match today against unseeded Renzo Furlan of Italy.
In the other quarterfinal, No. 4 Michael Chang, the two-time defending ATP champion, played No. 11 Jim Courier.
Agassi’s match capped another steamy day _ 90-degree temperatures and high humidity. No one knows more about the weather than Sampras.
The world’s second-ranked player hooked up with No. 15 Todd Martin in the tournament’s most engrossing match Thursday afternoon. They matched sizzling serves and pressure shots for 2 hours and 36 minutes.
There was only one service break in the match. Sampras overcame 10 break points _ eight in the third set _ to win 6-7 (7-2), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
Sampras served a 110 mph ace, his 23rd of the match, to finish it, then walked slowly to the net to shake Martin’s hand. They both shuffled to the sideline, sweat-drenched shirts clinging to their backs, while the sun-splashed crowd gave a standing ovation.
``I’d much rather win in straight sets and not sweat so much,″ Sampras said.
Stich needed a lot less sweat to beat Patrick McEnroe 7-6, 6-3. Stich played on the same court Thursday and was aware of Sampras’ ordeal.
``He had a very tough match,″ said Stich, who had won two of his last three matches against Sampras before today’s meeting.
Credit Martin’s play for leaving Sampras running on empty. Martin, of Lansing, Mich., played Sampras even by nearly every statistical measure. He wound up lamenting a few missed shots that could have turned the match.
``I did a lot of things well for a long period of time,″ Martin said. ``It’s good to know I can do that. It’s also good to know I’m a point or two away from winning a match from No. 2 in the world while not necessarily playing my best.″
Agassi will play his first career match against Furlan, who upset No. 7 Wayne Ferriera 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5).