By David Sweet
STANFORD, California – The Bank of the West Classic treated the crowd to the first of three exhibition matches featuring 1990s American tennis stars Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, and Jim Courier.
The first of these started the Wednesday night session, with Sampras taking on Chang. Chang was lighthearted through the match, questioning line calls on Sampras serves – only to be proven wrong each time.
Generally the rule of thumb in this type of exhibition match is that each match goes into a tiebreak. More tennis for the fans. Once they got there, Sampras was all business. He raced to the finish line. 7-6 Sampras.
Early in the second set Chang was in control, but Sampras turned on the magic that won him 14 Grand Slams to get to 5-4. Chang struggled in this service game, until Sampras hit an errant mid-court backhand and suddenly grabbed his left calf. No one thought much of it, but after Chang won the game to level it off at 5-5, Sampras shook his hand and retired from the match.
The crowd was very respectful of Sampras’ decision. He was cheered as he left the court. Sampras is scheduled for another exhibition match Thursday night versus Courier.
David Sweet is covering the Bank of the West Tennis Classic at Stanford University for Tennis Panorama News July 9 -15, 2012. Follow his live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @davidsweetphoto, and ‘like’ his Facebook page “David Sweet Photography.” ‘Like’ the Tennis Panorama News Facebook page.
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