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  Tuesday, 4 September, 2001, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Old rivals meet again
Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras
Agassi and Sampras first played as pros in 1989
The two biggest American tennis stars of the past decade will continue their amicable rivalry at the US Open on Wednesday.

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi meet in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows - not so long ago, it would have been the final itself.

But the powers of 'Pistol Pete' have waned in the last couple of seasons, meaning he was only seeded 10th in New York.

Sampras has not won a Grand Slam title since his seventh Wimbledon crown in 2000.

He married last year and, tiring of the rigours of the ATP Tour, is thought to be actively considering retirement.


What can you say about Andre? He's one of the best ever
Pete Sampras

Sampras turned 30 last month, but is actually a year younger than Agassi, who is resisting the passing years with more success.

His relationship with Steffi Graf - the couple are expecting their first child - seems to have put a fresh spring in the step of the Las Vegan.

Seeded number two at the US Open behind Gustavo Kuerten, the reigning Australian Open champion is in top form.

Up against it

His 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over the talented Swiss teenager Roger Federer in the last round signalled his intent to add to his 1994 and 1999 titles.

But four-times champion Sampras is keen to continue a run which has seen him win at least one of the big four tournaments every year since 1993 on his way to a record 13 Grand Slam titles.

He beat Agassi in the 1990 and 1995 US Open finals, but knows he is really up against it this time.

Roger Federer congratulates Andre Agassi
Agassi steam-rollered Federer in 83 minutes
After seeing off Pat Rafter in four sets in the fourth round, he said: "I'm now up against another heavyweight.

"What can you say about Andre? He's one of the best ever. Like Pat he brings out the best in me.

"He's playing great and it seems like we're both peaking at the same time. I'm going to have to play very, very well to beat him.

"He feels the same way against me - there's a lot of respect and a lot of history. It should produce some good tennis."

Agassi describes his latest confrontation with his old adversary as a "can't lose" match.

He said: "You give it all you've got. If you win, you've done something pretty incredible by beating one of the game's best."

Sampras has the edge in head-to-head meetings, leading by 17-14, but Agassi has won four of their last five encounters.

Whatever the result, Wednesday night's clash promises to be a memorable match.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC tennis correspondent Iain Carter
"This is the 32nd meeting between the pair"
Pete Sampras
"We're both peaking at the same time "
Andre Agassi
"You always have to find another level when you play him "
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