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  Sunday, 10 September, 2000, 22:59 GMT 23:59 UK
Safin captures first Grand Slam
Marat Safin played outstanding tennis to beat Sampras
Marat Safin played outstanding tennis to beat Sampras
Marat Safin (Rus) bt Pete Sampras (US) 6-4 6-3 6-3

Budding superstar Marat Safin put the awesome talent of Pete Sampras in the shade to win the US Open men's title on Sunday - and promptly declared he could not remember anything about the match.

The 20-year-old Russian completely dominated the Wimbledon champion on the way to winning his first Grand Slam title in just one hour and 38 minutes.

He became the youngest US Open champion since Sampras defeated Andre Agassi in the final in 1990 for the first of his four US Open crowns.

Safin's triumph marked just the third defeat in 16 Grand Slam finals for Sampras and the first time he has lost in straight sets.


Never in my life have I played better - I don't really remember it I only remember the last game
Marat Safin
Sampras, who set a record with 13 Grand Slam titles when he won Wimbledon for the seventh time earlier this summer, couldn't even muster a break point until the last game of the match.

After his win, an overwhelmed Safin said: "Never in my life have I played better. I don't really remember it. I only remember the last game.

"I was very nervous and couldn't move on the court. I was very lucky - in the end I served well and I'm the winner, thanks to God.

"You think I know how well I returned his serve? - I don't know!"


He passed and returned my serve better than anyone I've ever played
Pete Sampras
Sampras, who appeared particularly choked up after his defeat, said: "He played some of the best tennis we have ever seen and I give him all the credit in the world.

"Everything I tried he had an answer for.

"He reminded me of when I was 19 and came here and won it for the first time.

"But I'm sorry to these folks I didn't give them more of a match - I tried my hardest.

"He was too good - anytime you can serve 130mph on the line, there's not a lot you can do.

"He passed and returned my serve better than anyone I've ever played."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Iain Carter
"It was an extraordinary performance from this Russian"
Marat Safin
"I served very well, I am a winner."
Pete Sampras
"He reminded me of when I was 19, when I came here and won for the first time."
See also:

10 Sep 00 | US Open Tennis
10 Sep 00 | US Open Tennis
10 Sep 00 | US Open Tennis
10 Sep 00 | Photo Galleries
10 Sep 00 | Photo Galleries
Links to more US Open Tennis stories are at the foot of the page.


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