Sampras, Agassi cruise by Czechs, take big lead Davis Cup

March 28, 1992|By Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi brushed off the Czechs in the Davis Cup yesterday, like so much sand from their sneakers.

Sampras smashed Karel Novacek, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, and Agassi blasted Petr Korda, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, to give the Americans a comfortable 2-0 lead in their quarterfinal match before a near-sellout crowd of 5,146 sun-baked fans at the Sonesta Sanibel Harbour Resort.

Rick Leach and John McEnroe can send the United States into the September semifinals with a victory against Korda and Cyril Suk in today's doubles.

"We were hoping for a 2-0 lead, we were counting on it," Agassi said. "We rolled over them in straight sets in both matches, so we'll sleep good tonight."

Said Czech coach Tomas Smid: "We lost to good players. Our players did not play too well. I hope the Americans don't play us as well in the doubles."

The Czechs got a double dose of power from Sampras and persistence from Agassi.

Sampras served 17 aces and blasted 39 winners past Novacek, who never saw a break point in a match that ended in 1 hour, 52 minutes.

"Pete's serve was the major reason he crushed me today," said Novacek, who beat Sampras on clay in their only previous match. "He had a great serve and he didn't give me any chance. He played smart and didn't play long rallies."

Sampras said, "My whole game is based around my serve, and I had one of my better serving days today." He won 81 percent of the points on his first serve. "There was a point there where Novacek didn't know where the ball was going," Sampras said. "When I'm serving that well, the thought was in my mind that if he missed a couple shots, I would break him."

Sampras converted four of 11 break points.

In an unexpected victory pose, Sampras raised his arms like McEnroe, and pivoted around for the crowd at the end of the match.

"This is the first time I've felt comfortable on the court in a Davis Cup match," said Sampras, who won his third consecutive cup (( singles match. "I wasn't happy with the way I played in Hawaii."

Agassi said: "It felt good to watch Pete win, after he struggled in Lyon [last year's losing final against France], and he was still questioning himself in Hawaii this year. I wanted it for him."

Sampras' opening victory put pressure on Korda, the 10th-ranked player in the world, who is the only man in both singles and doubles.

Elsewhere, Magnus Gustafsson and Stefan Edberg scored straight-set victories to give Sweden a commanding 2-0 lead over Australia in Lund, Sweden.

Jakob Hlasek outlasted Arnaud Boetsch, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), as Switzerland took a 1-0 lead over defending Davis Cup champion France in Nimes, France.

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