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  Sunday, 9 September, 2001, 22:50 GMT 23:50 UK
Hewitt destroys Sampras dream
Lleyton Hewitt gets to another Sampras serve
Hewitt's athleticism took the fight out of Sampras
L Hewitt (Aus) (4) beat P Sampras (US) (10) 7-6 6-1 6-1

Lleyton Hewitt destroyed Pete Sampras in straight sets to win his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

The 20-year-old Australian played breathtaking tennis to completely overwhelm his American opponent whose legendary status is already assured.

With a mixture of spectacular passing shots and dynamic running around the court, the winner made the result a foregone conclusion as early as the start of the third set.

Pete Sampras during his final with Lleyton Hewitt
Sampras - battered, beaten and disheartened
Bridging a ten year gap in terms of age and experience, Hewitt showed why he is considered one of the finest all-court players in modern tennis.

It means that Sampras is denied for the second successive year in the US Open final, beaten by Marat Safin last year while his tally of Grand Slam titles stays at 13.

For Sampras, this was one of those days where he had the look of an ageing heavyweight boxer who all of a sudden finds himself past his best when he walks into the ring.

His serve was never the dominant weapon it had been in earlier rounds against Pat Rafter, Andre Agassi and Safin in the semi-final.

And he seemed surprisingly nervous for a man used to being in this position and by the time he had recovered his composure, his opponent was already away from him.

After holding his serve for 87 consecutive times in the tournament, he was broken at his first attempt in the final by an opponent showing little fear.

Although Hewitt would himself lose his serve to love in the very next game, he had already established that he would not be intimidated by his opponent's legendary status.

Pete Sampras looks distraught during his final defeat by Lleyton Hewitt
A bad day at the office for Sampras
The set went with serve from there until the tie-break.

But Hewitt was much the sharper and continually forced mini-breaks until he took the set 7-4.

If the opener had gone against serve, the second was even more surprising, with Sampras continually netting backhand volleys and finding himself passed on plenty of other occasions.

The Australian raced to a 5-1 lead after consecutive breaks of the Sampras serve and he served the set out with no problems.

Finally, Sampras was looking his age, with his serve lacking the usual snap and self doubt creeping into his game.

Hewitt grabbed an early break in the final set, confirming that his dominance of this match was now total.

Another break got him to 5-1 and Sampras' performance in the final game of the match confirmed how bad things had got - two wayward volleys and a double fault saw his dream finally die.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC tennis correspondent Iain Carter
"Hewitt produced a display of near faultless tennis"
US Open winner Lleyton Hewitt
"I knew I was capable of doing it"
Beaten finalist Pete Sampras
"He was just too good"
Australia's Davis Cup captain John Newcombe
"I was so pleased for him"
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Lleyton Hewitt shocked Pete Sampras to win the US Open in straight sets is he the new golden boy of tennis? Hurricane Hewitt
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BBC's Richard Evans on the US Open
Links to more US Open tennis stories are at the foot of the page.


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