Patchy Pete on target for double glory
By NORIDEEN KITCHELL
AMERICAN Pete Sampras survived another scare as he edged past Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2) in the semi-finals of the Salem Open yesterday.
Top-seed Sampras has been in patchy form all week - being pushed to the limit by Canadian Sebastian Lereau (first round) and Germany's David Prinosil (quarter-finals).
His only straight sets win was against Pat Rafter of Australia in the second round.
'My tennis has been up-and-down but I played a good tie-break and feel I'm really competitive,' said Sampras, who is likely to regain the number one world ranking from Thomas Muster of Austria with a victory today.
'I've just got to be more consistent against Michael [Chang]. Take care of my serve, put pressure on his and not let his speed catch me.
'Michael has been very consistent this year and its a good test to see where I am. We seem to match up pretty well and it should be a good final.' Sampras is 72 ranking points behind current world number one Muster, who is also riding the crest of a winning wave having reached the semi-finals of the Estoril Open.
Muster, however, will have 359 points deducted for his victory in the Portuguese tournament last year and therefore Sampras is likely to overhaul him on the ATP ranking even if they both win this week.
But Sampras added he will not be thinking of the number one tag when he meets two times defending champion Chang today, and would instead concentrate on playing 'really good solid tennis'.
The 24-year-old American said: 'What really matters is the end of the year when they add up all the points because that gives a true indication who had the best year.'