Chengdu, 22 October 2010 | AFP
Grand Slam great Pete Sampras got his campaign off to the perfect start at the Chengdu Open in China with an impressive 6-3 6-1 victory over fellow veteran Pat Cash.
Just as emphatic on the opening day was a 6-1 6-4 win for Greg Rusedski over the man that beat him in the US Open final in 1997 – another Australian, Pat Rafter.
“I would trade every match I won against Pat for that one victory at the US Open finals,” he said when asked if his victory could at all make up for that key 1997 loss.
Sampras, who won seven Wimbledon titles and 14 Grand Slam tournaments in a glittering career, is in China for the second annual Chengdu Open in the country’s Sichuan Province.
The American was utterly dominant in his straight sets victory over fellow Wimbledon Champion Cash in his opening round robin match of the tournament.
Sampras broke early and repeatedly in the second set, though he noted after the match that conditions were tricky.
“I didn’t realise there was altitude here, and Pat still possesses a good serve and volley game, mixes up his serve and is tough to break,” he said.
“Once I settled into the match and started feeling my range a little bit, it went pretty smoothly, but Pat is still a very good athlete.”
Defending Chengdu Champion and ATP Champions Tour No.1 Swede Thomas Enqvist opened play by defeating challenger Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-3 6-4.
The second slate pitted Frenchman Guy Forget against Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan, whose career-high ATP world Tour No.9 ranking made him the highest ranked player from Asia in history.
Forget, 42, won the intergenerational matchup over his 31-year old counterpart 6-4 7-6(1).