FRENCH OPEN DAILY REPORT : Rivals Sampras, Courier to Meet in Quarterfinals
Pete Sampras continues to scramble and scrap his way to the French Open final. Sunday’s barrier was Australian Scott Draper, who made up for in eagerness what he lacked in experience.
The top-seeded Sampras defeated Draper, ranked No. 99, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2, in the fourth round.
That set up a quarterfinal match against Jim Courier. Courier, seeded No. 7, defeated Wayne Ferreira of South Africa, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.
Sampras’ blazing pace of aces dropped off, in fact Draper outdid him in that department, with six aces to Sampras’ five.
“I’m pretty pleased,” Sampras said. “It was a little bit of up-and-down tennis. It was very cold and heavy, which isn’t good for my game. I got better after the second set. I’m pleased.”
Neither player was particularly sharp and Draper had two break points at 5-all in the second set.
“Boy, I just kept saying to myself, ‘I’ve got to hang in there.’ I wasn’t playing very well, just waiting for my chances,” Draper said. “That was my chance. I didn’t capitalize on it.”
Courier has been moving quietly through the draw and looked better Sunday than he has all week.
“My level of play? It’s getting better and better,” Courier said. “I started the first round not playing quite as well as I would have liked. It’s been progressing.”
Courier and Sampras are friendly rivals. When Courier was asked if there were a lot of emotions involved when playing Sampras, he replied, “Not particularly.”
Said Sampras: “Jim and I have had some pretty good matches, I have my work cut out for me.”