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Sampras Wins Serving Duel Against Philippoussis

June 27, 1996

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Pete Sampras survived a barrage of aces and beat Mark Philippoussis in straight sets today, while Stefan Edberg ended his Wimbledon career with a second-round loss.

Despite 28 aces by the 6-foot-4 Australian, the top-seeded Sampras won 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4 to avenge a straight-sets defeat to Philippoussis at the Australian Open in January.

``The way Mark played in Australia was phenomenal, he kind of destroyed me,″ Sampras said. ``Today playing on grass was very different. Ijust played the big points a little better than he did.″

Philippoussis, making his debut on Centre Court in his first year as a pro at Wimbledon, sensed that Sampras was eager to make a point.

``It was much different,″ Philippoussis said. ``I think Pete was definitely more determined for revenge, to let everyone know that maybe the last time I beat him it was a bit of a fluke or something.″

The Centre Court match featured one of the most brutal displays of power tennis ever seen at Wimbledon.

Sampras had 15 aces and was never extended to deuce on serve, while breaking Philippoussis twice.

``It doesn’t matter if you can serve big if you can’t get a return in,″ Philippoussis said. ``I don’t think I made him play nearly enough at all.″

Edberg, the 12th seed and former two-time champion, bowed out in four sets to fellow Swede Mikael Tillstrom in his 14th and final appearance at Wimbledon.

The 30-year-old Edberg, who is retiring at the end of the year, received a standing ovation following the 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 defeat on Court 1.

Edberg threw several shirts and water bottles into the crowd and sat slumped in his chair as the ovation grew. Then he waved and walked off with his head down.

Steffi Graf, the women’s top seed and defending champion, had a tougher time than expected against 122nd-ranked Nathalie Baudone but advanced to the third round with a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

The match was even on serve until Graf broke in the 12th game with a forehand winner to clinch the first set. Graf, who has been troubled by a swollen tendon in her left knee, appeared to limp slightly at times in the second set but closed out the match with a running backhand drop shot.

``The knee hasn’t been great today, but it’s fine in general,″ Graf said. ``I don’t really want to talk about it. I’ve been having enough injuries. I’ve talked enough about them. I don’t feel like talking about them anymore.″

Fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic served 21 aces to overpower French qualifier Pierre Bouteyre, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, and reach the third round. Tenth-seeded Michael Stich, the 1991 champion, overcame Shuzo Matsuoka 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-7 (7-5), 6-1.

Marc Rosset, the 14th seed, had 24 aces in a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 win over Andrei Olhovskiy, while Richard Krajicek served 20 to beat Derrick Rostagno 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

Sixteenth-seeded Cedric Pioline breezed to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Britain’s Mark Petchey.

Two women’s seeds were ousted in the second round: No. 8 Lindsay Davenport and No. 10 Magdalena Maleeva.

Davenport, a quarterfinalist here in 1994, suffered her earliest defeat in four Wimbledon appearances, losing 6-3, 6-2 to Latvian doubles specialist Larisa Neiland.

Maleeva was ousted 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 9-7 by Nathalie Tauziat, a solid grass-court player who made the quarterfinals in 1992.

Third-seeded Conchita Martinez, the 1994 champion, beat Lisa Raymond 7-5, 7-5; No. 6 Jana Novotna advanced with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win over Laurence Courtois; No. 12 Kimiko Date rallied for a 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-3 victory over Anne-Gaelle Sidot; No. 13 Mary Pierce downed Clare Taylor 6-4, 6-2; and No. 16 Martina Hingis won 6-1, 6-1 over British wild card Rachel Viollet.

The Sampras-Philippoussis match featured huge serves.

Philippoussis first serves at an average speed of 123 mph, with one delivery timed at 131 mph. His second serves averaged 111 mph, including one at 126 mph.

``The way he serves, it’s almost like he’s hitting two first serves,″ Sampras said. ``He just goes for it.″

But Sampras, whose first serves averaged 119 mph, held serve more easily throughout the match. And he put Philippoussis under pressure with low returns, forcing him to bend low for volleys.

``There wasn’t a lot of strategy,″ Sampras said. ``I was trying to get his serve back and he was trying to get my serve back. I just did it a little better.″

There were no breaks in the first set. In the first nine points of the tiebreaker, only one serve was returned over the net _ and it was long. At 5-4, Sampras made the first good return to force a forehand volley error, then took the tiebreaker on the next point with a forehand winner.

The first break of the match came in the ninth game of the second set when Sampras ripped a backhand pass down the line to go up 5-4. He served out the set in the next game.

In the third set, Sampras broke in the third game with a forehand pass that sent Philippoussis tumbling to the turf. Sampras served out the match in the 10th game at 15, ending with a cross-court backhand volley.

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