Sampras Shakes Off Cobwebs for Grasscourt Comeback

Published June 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Grasscourt king Pete Sampras let the first set slip but ratcheted up his game a few notches to power into the third round of the $800,000 Queen's club tournament in London, Tuesday. 

British wild card entry Arvind Parmer became the first grass victim of the season for Sampras in a 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-3 loss on the turf. 

Six-time Wimbledon and double Queen's champion Sampras admitted his start couldn't have been more sluggish. 

"The first match on grass is always difficult," said the 28-year-old American, a first-round loser on clay in Paris against Mark Philippoussis. 

"I played OK in my first match out of the gates." 

While Sampras was saving his skin, 1999's beaten finalist Tim Henman was taken out in his opening match. 

The roof fell in the Briton's Wimbledon preparation due to a loss against American qualifier Bob Bryan 7-6 (7/2), 6-4. 

The Californian, who had to beat his twin brother Mike in weekend preliminary rounds, leaped into the air in excitement on the soft Center Court grass when he completed his feat. 

Two-time Wimbledon semifinalist Henman said: "There is no reason and no excuse for this loss," said the Briton. "I'm disappointed to have this kind of result." 

Russian Marat Safin played himself proud as he won his first career victory on grass, taking a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 decision over Frenchman Julien Boutter. 

Safin is being coached through Wimbledon by Tony Picard, who has guided Stefan Edberg and Greg Rusedski. 

Mark Philippoussis extracted himself from late difficulties, serving his way out of trouble 6-3, 7-5 over fellow Aussie Wayne Arthurs.  

Italy's Gianluca Pozzi beat Haiti's Ronald Agenor 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in a match between the two oldest active players in the game - (AFP) 



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