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FRENCH OPEN DAILY REPORT : Sampras' Game Serves Him Well

May 30, 1996|JULIE CART

Pete Sampras might have figured out how to play on clay. As he said here the other day, he's determined to do it "my way."

That means huge serves, which carried him through his first-round match with 23 aces. In Wednesday's tense second-round match against two-time champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain, Sampras was bailed out by his serve, winning, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (7-2), 2-6, 6-3.

It took 14 aces, but also a whole lot of energy during the match that ran nearly three hours under a bright sun. Sampras, who is seeded No. 1, called it the best match he has ever played at Roland Garros Stadium.

"To beat someone of Sergi's capabilities on clay, it's by far my best win," Sampras said. "My serve kind of won it for me in the fifth set. I was very tired. I was kind of going on adrenaline at the end. I just won the important points today. That was the difference."

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It is Paris, after all, so fashion must play a part. Mary Pierce's revealing, black, backless tennis dress is still being discussed. She wore it again Wednesday.

Pierce has been put on the defensive about it, but said emphatically that it's comfortable and she likes it.

"I wouldn't play with it at a Grand Slam that's important for me if I didn't feel like I couldn't play well in it," Pierce said.

Monica Seles, who wears the same company's tennis clothes, did her best to say something nice.

"I think it's a very sexy dress, that's for sure," Seles said. "You have to feel very comfortable to wear it. You have to be self-assured. Mary is that. I would feel uncomfortable playing in it, personally.

"On Mary, it looks good. She goes out there and she pulls her shoulders back. She has a different style. I'm more hunched over. On me, it would look terrible."

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