NEW YORK -- This was the match everyone was geared up for at the U.S. Open. A match between No. 1 Pete Sampras and the big-serving Mark Philippoussis.
Because Philippoussis beat Sampras in straight sets at the Australian Open, and because he can match Sampras big serve-for-big serve, observers anticipate another upset every time they meet.
But in their rematch at Wimbledon, Sampras stalked off with a quick, three-set victory over the 20-year-old Australian.
And last night, in a scene reminiscent of something out of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," in which Indiana Jones tires of watching some bad guy demonstrate his sword skills and simply shoots him, Sampras broke Philippoussis on his second service game and galloped into the night, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
The final game was all anyone needed to know about this match. Sampras rushed Philippoussis off the court with an ace followed by three service winners.
"Trying to return a serve at 130 mph, you better have your game face on," said Sampras. "I needed to make him play on his serve and stay solid on mine. I was lucky to be able to take my chances when they came. And I'd have to say that since coming into the Open, my best match was [this one]."
The No. 1 seed broke Philippoussis twice in both the first and second sets , fought off two break points in the fourth game of the third set, and was not threatened again.
"I've got to mature a lot more on the court," said Philippoussis. "I was pumped up and competitive, but I tried to go for too much. Pete's such a player that he plays great week-in, week-out, and that's something I have to learn."
Sampras' quarterfinal opponent will be world No. 31 Alex Corretja, who ousted Guy Forget yesterday, 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 (7-5).
Seles on her game
No. 2 seed Monica Seles said she wanted to come out attacking last night, and that's what she did in beating Amanda Coetzer, 6-0, 6-3.
"The thing for me is when I take charge of the points, I'm OK," Seles said. "That's one of the reasons I got into a little trouble in the second set, because I again started not being aggressive, started pushing the ball back."
Seles' semifinal opponent will be No. 4 seed Conchita Martinez, who beat Linda Wild yesterday, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0. Seles has an 8-0 record against Martinez.
Pub Date: 9/04/96