Pistol Pete Guns Down Haas

by John on February 19, 2008

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“Show some mercy, Pete.” So said Tommy Haas after Pete Sampras hit back-to-back aces to close out the second game of the second set in an exhibition match last night. Sampras handily dispatched the German veteran 6-4, 6-2 at the SAP Open in San Jose, Calif. It was Sampras’ second straight exhibition win against an active tour player. The former top-ranked American defeated current No. 1 Roger Federer in straight sets in Macau in November. Haas, no slouch himself with a 2-1 record against Sampras in ATP Tour events before the American retired five years ago, is battling back from shoulder surgery and currently is ranked No. 26 in the world. Back in May 2002, Haas reached a career-high No. 2 ranking. Sampras started slowly, hitting a forehand more than 10 feet long on the first point of the match and double faulting to open his first service game. But he got sharper as the match progressed and showed great touch and precision at the net. Using the serve-and-volley game which he parlayed into 14 Grand Slam titles, Sampras completely dominated Haas. Like always when Sampras plays an exhibition, he was asked if he would reconsider his retirement and mount a comeback. “There’s no reason for me to come back,” said Sampras in the post-match news conference. “I don’t miss the limelight, I don’t need the money. The tricky thing for me is I didn’t stop for injury but for emotional reasons. I didn’t have anything left in the tank. There has to be a reason to come back. There’s a whole lot to lose and not much to gain. I don’t want to come back for Wimbledon and win a couple of matches. What would that mean to me? I play to win.” Well, win he has twice now against two very formidable opponents. Makes you wonder how the Silky One would do on the lawns of the All England Club. I have to believe he could do better than winning a couple of rounds. Next up for Sampras is another exhibition against Federer on March 10 at Madison Square Garden.

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