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Saturday, July 3, 1999 Published at 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK

Sport: Tennis

Sampras ends Henman dream

Henman has now lost to Sampras six times without reply

Pete Sampras has ended Tim Henman's Wimbledon dream for another year.

The defending champion came from a set down to defeat the British No 1, 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 in their semi-final.

Henman: Making no excuses
This is the second successive year the American has beaten Henman in the last four of the Wimbledon tournament.

Sampras will now play Andre Agassi in an all-American final for the 4th of July.

The French Open winner beat Pat Rafter in the other semi, 7-5 7-6 6-2.

Early hope

Henman started well in his match with his friend and regular practice partner.

He won the first set after both started tentatively, breaking each other's serve in a nervous flurry of double faults.

[ image: Sampras: Master of Centre Court into another final]
Sampras: Master of Centre Court into another final
The Briton made one more break than the American to leave him 3-1 up.

A pair of aces then suggested Sampras had settled into the match, but it was not soon enough to stop Henman serving out to clinch the first set in 37 minutes.

The second set saw the defending champion receive treatment for a thigh problem, and hopes were further raised amongst the Centre Court crowd.

But the medical assistance did the trick and Sampras gained in confidence significantly until Henman served to stay in the set at 4-5.

He survived two set points but double-faulted on a third to hand Sampras an equalising set.

Henman's game threatened to fall apart as he lost the next three games, including a break to love in the second game of the set.

From 30-love down in the fourth game the Briton recovered to put pressure on the Sampras serve without actually breaking him.

Ruthless champ

The defending champion was ruthless in the set-clinching service game, which started with a blurring 134mph ace.

[ image: Henman: Best simply not good enough]
Henman: Best simply not good enough
Henman could not raise his game to the level of the world's best player, whose superior second serve was proving crucial.

In the fourth set, Henman just had to cling on and hope the sustained period of Sampras supremacy would pass.

He had a chance at 3-2 up - his first break-point opportunity since the fifth game of the opener.

But Sampras saved it with some thunderous serving, as he did another in the eighth game.

From 4-4 Henman lost his serve to love and Sampras served out to repeat his fourth set triumph of a year ago.

It was a sixth win in six matches against Britain's great hope, who had fought bravely.

But as in the Queen's Club final last month, his best was simply not good enough against the master of Centre Court.

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