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TENNIS ROUNDUP

Sampras Earns $2 Million and Rafter's Respect

September 29, 1997|From Associated Press

Pete Sampras gave Patrick Rafter a tennis lesson Sunday, hammering the U.S. Open champion in straight sets to win the Grand Slam Cup and the sport's richest prize--$1.5 million for the title.

Sampras won his first 20 service points against the Australian, ranked third in the world, en route to a 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 victory at the $6-million tournament in Munich, Germany.

Ranked No. 1, Sampras took the second set when he broke the Australian's serve at 4-4 with a passing shot so hard it almost knocked the racket out of the diving Rafter's hand.

"Because he just won the U.S. Open, it raised my intensity," Sampras said. "He's No. 3 now, so you come out firing."

After the victory over a player who could pose the first challenge to his top ranking since Andre Agassi, Sampras said he played one of the best matches of his career.

"It's up there, I can't play much better," he said.

Sampras collected a total of $2 million, more than doubling his earnings for the year. In addition to the top prize money, he got a $500,000 bonus for winning Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

"It was very frustrating for me out there," Rafter said. "He's just too good and too strong. I've got to look for something new, something different to crack Pete."

Rafter earned $1 million--$750,000 for reaching the final, plus a bonus as U.S. Open champion.

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Nicolas Kiefer, 19, became the first German man to win a tennis tournament this season, upsetting defending champion Mark Philippoussis of Australia, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, in the final of the Toulouse Open in France.

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Australian Richard Fromberg, 27, overpowered Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2), to win the $475,000 Romanian men's clay court tennis tournament in Bucharest.

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Jana Novotna, the world's second-ranked women's player, defeated South Africa's Amanda Coetzer in three sets to claim the $450,000 Leipzig Open title for the second time since 1994.

Novotna beat Coetzer, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in just under two hours in the German event to earn her 17th career title.

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John McEnroe defeated top-seeded Johan Kriek to win the Champions tennis title, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, at Johannesburg, South Africa.

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