New York: Pete Sampras answered taunts he was washed up and over the hill by riding a wave of New York night-time energy past third seed Tommy Haas and into the US Open quarter finals Tuesday.
The American, winner of a record 13 Grand Slam titles, served with venom and unravelled his hunched shoulders into a series of stupendous forehands to see off the German 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5.
Amelie Mauresmo’s French resistance proved too strong for third-seeded American Jennifer Capriati as the tenth seed barged her way into her first US Open semi-final with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win. Mauresmo will face either Venus Williams or Monica Seles in the semis.
Sampras’ third-round victim Greg Rusedski had said Monday night that the 17th seed was no longer the great player who broke the record for majors at Wimbledon 2000. Twenty-four hours later, the 31-year-old produced some dynamic tennis to win his 200th Grand Slam match.
“These are huge matches for me... I’ve still got the game,” he said as he composed himself before leaving the court. “This is the US Open — you dig deep.”
His reward for such digging is a last-eight clash with compatriot Andy Roddick who beat Juan Ignacio Chela 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 . Roddick has won both previous matches against Sampras — four times a champion here and runner-up the last two years — but is not fancying his chances against his boyhood hero.
“It is a dream to play Pete here. I have beaten him twice, but this is Pete’s house,” said the 20-year-old.
Women’s top seed Serena Williams sparkled en route to the semi-finals, but her sister and defending champion Venus struggled in bright sunlight to squeeze into the quarters.
Venus did barely enough to beat Chanda Rubin 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 (as reported in our Late City edition Wednesday), while Serena mangled Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-2 to keep the pair on track for another Grand Slam final showdown.
Serena next clashes with Lindsay Davenport — the last non-Williams to win the Open in 1998 — for a place in Saturday’s final. Fourth seed Davenport beat Russia’s Elena Bovina 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
While Venus, Serena and Davenport advanced, the lights went out on another former champion, ninth seed Martina Hingis.
Having reached at least the semi-finals for the last six years, the 1997 champion was felled 4-6, 2-6 by Monica Seles. Two-time winner Seles will clash with Venus.
Schalken fells Kuerten
In the men’s draw, Dutchman Sjeng Schalken battled past Gustavo Kuerten 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 to reach his second successive Grand Slam quarter final. Schalken will face surprise quarter-finalist Fernando Gonzalez next after the Chilean beat Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 with a solid display.
Mahesh-Max in last 16
In men’s doubles, third seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi moved into the last 16 with a comfortable straight-set victory.
Up 5-0 when play was suspended Monday, Bhupathi and Mirnyi resumed after a day’s gap to sweep past Aussie duo David Macpherson and Peter Luczak 6-1, 7-6 (7-2).