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John Lloyd
"Sampras could struggle against Rafter!
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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK
Lloyd: Rafter-Agassi was a classic
Andre Agassi
Lloyd: Agassi's exit was a surprise, but Rafter deserved to win
BBC TV commentator John Lloyd looks back at two vastly different men's semi-finals and previews the ladies' final.

The semi-final between Pat Rafter and Andre Agassi was a classic. The contrast in styles made it fabulous.

It was great grass-court tennis. As I've said, I'm not a huge grass court fan, but when you see a match like that, well... it was beautiful.

Hats off to Rafter. To play a tough five-setter like that when he had to take his game up a step was an unbelievable performance.

He had a relatively easy draw and with the lack of matches he's had because of injury - one which took him to the brink of retirement - he did so well to beat Agassi.

Experience

It certainly wasn't predictable. I thought Agassi's match experience would pull him through and I still thought he'd win after the fourth set.

Instead it went the other way, and in the fifth set Rafter started hitting 80 per cemt of his first serves in, which is amazing.


Pat Rafter
An unpredictable win
Pat Cash, who I was doing the commentary with, said Rafter was 14 wins and three defeats in five set matches, so now he's 15 and three.

It just shows what a competitor he is when it comes to the crunch.

I can understand why Agassi said he thought the match "sucked". It was frustration coming out.

He basically handed the third set to Rafter with several inexplicable errors when the match was evenly balanced.

That was inexcusable for someone of his calibre and that's what he was talking about. You can't afford to do that against someone like Rafter.

Cruised through

Pete Sampras cruised through. Vladimir Voltchkov's confidence eroded when he dumped a simple backhand volley into the net when it was 4-5 in the first set tiebreaker and lost the set.

Voltchkov suddenly realised where he was, who he was playing against and what the occasion was, and after that there was only going to be one winner.


Pete Sampras
Sampras cruised through
But you can't criticise him. He's given a fabulous account of himself over the two weeks.

To be honest I didn't think he would do quite as well against Sampras as he did.

I think the injury is bothering Sampras. There's been a lot of innuendo about his ability to reach the final with an injury.

But you don't fake hobbling after shots and you can see him grimacing.

But he's been in 80 per cent cruise mode in a few of his matches. Now he faces a huge test against Rafter in the final.

Powerful

It will be the tallest and most powerful ladies final ever held at Wimbledon. Centre Court is going to tremble when they start whacking the ball around.


Lindsay Davenport
Can Davenport retain her title?
It's a very difficult match to predict. I'd normally give it to Lindsay Davenport, having won it last year.

But there were a lot of errors in her semi-final, as there were in Venus Williams' match against Serena.

Although Venus has been playing well, it will all come down to whether Davenport plays as well as she can. I predict a nail-biter in the third set.

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See also:

07 Jul 00 | Wimbledon2000
Rafter knocks out Agassi in epic semi BBC Sport >>
07 Jul 00 | Wimbledon2000
Sampras cruises into final BBC Sport >>
06 Jul 00 | Wimbledon2000
Venus wins family affair BBC Sport >>
06 Jul 00 | AudioVideo
Davenport into the finals BBC Sport >>
29 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd reflects on mixed fortunes BBC Sport >>
28 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd understands outbursts BBC Sport >>
27 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd slams seeding committee BBC Sport >>
30 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd: Agassi was phenomenal BBC Sport >>
28 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Lloyd: We must not go overboard BBC Sport >>
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