NEW YORK -- Pete Sampras. Remember him? Once, he was the future of American tennis, the 17-year-old who smiled a lot, said all the right things and won the 1990 U.S. Open with 100 aces.
Then he had trouble adjusting to life in the tennis fast-lane. He played too often for too much money, and forgot how to win the only titles that count for something more than cash -- the Grand Slams.
But Sampras is back at the Open, older, wiser and definitely a factor to win another title.
Yesterday, he won a second straight five-set match, beating Guy Forget, of France, 6-3, 1-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The victory helped Sampras erase an awful memory, his 1991 Davis Cup collapse against Forget in Lyons, France.
Andre Agassi won, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, against Carlos Costa. In the most eagerly awaited of the quarterfinals, Agassi will meet Jim Courier, a three-set victor over John McEnroe.
Brad Gilbert, who survived five match points in his two previous matches, ran out of gas, and luck against Alexander Volkov of the Commonwealth of Independent States, 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5).
Next up for Volkov is Sampras.
MaliVai Washington came back from a rain delay the previous night and needed only five minutes and two games to finish off Henri Le
conte, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-3.
After a string of early-round upsets, the women's tournament churned along predictably. Steffi Graf beat Florencia Labat, 6-2, 6-2, setting up a quarterfinal match with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
Sanchez Vicario overwhelmed Zina Garrison, 6-0, 6-1.
Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere beat Carrie Cunningham, 6-3, 7-5, and will meet her youngest sister, Magdalena Maleeva, in the quarterfinals.
Despite back problems that kept her in bed for nearly two days, Magdalena Maleeva defeated Chanda Rubin, the 16-year-old from Lafayette, La., 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.
For the second straight match, Sampras came from behind.
In the third round, Sampras trailed Todd Martin two sets to one before rallying with a patient, all-court display. Yesterday, he again fell behind.
"I went into a really bad rut," Sampras said. "I think my body language was very casual out there. Then I think the crowd helped me out a little bit in the fourth set. I wanted to win the match. Everybody knows about the Davis Cup final in Lyon. That was something that bothered me for the next two, three months. But I am really playing great right now."