NEW YORK — 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 match 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," where Indiana Jones gets tired of watching some bad guy demonstrate his sword skills and simply shoots him, Sampras got his first break on Philippoussis' second service game and galloped away 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," Sampras said. "I needed to make him play on his serve and stay solid on mine. I was lucky to be able to make the break points when I got them."
Sampras' last ace registered 133 mph.
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.
No. 3 seed Thomas Muster, who disappeared from the Open without a word after his 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, victory over Thomas Enqvist, showed up yesterday afternoon to explain what happened to him.
"It's better today," said Muster, who plays Andre Agassi in the quarterfinals tonight. "I ate swordfish in Manhattan and when you eat something bad you know it."
Pub Date: 9/04/96