No Stopping Sampras On Track to 4th Title

DUSSELDORF -- Pete Sampras' preparations for a shot at the most remarkable achievement in tennis for a quarter of a century continued smoothly as he beat one of the hottest new properties in the game. The World No. 1, warming up for the French Open, destroyed Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday at the World Team Cup. His victory gave defending champion the United States a 2-0 lead over Russia in their opening match of the round-robin team tournament. Kafelnikov has seen off players of the caliber of World No. 2 Michael Stich, Goran Ivanisevic and Andre Agassi on clay in the past month. He pushed Sampras to five sets at the Australian Open. But faced with Sampras' power, mental toughness and touch, the 20-year-old Russian wilted in the sun on the Dusseldorf center court. The World No. 1 waited at the back of the court before picking his moment to move forward and kill off the rallies with deadly volleys. The lesson was over in 67 minutes. Sampras' build-up to play five-set matches in Paris has included interval training sessions of eight 400- meter sprints with a minute to rest in between, the daily schedule of most top middle-distance track athletes. Yet the 22-year-old American said he had not even thought about the history he could make in Paris. "I am just thinking about getting through my first match at the French Open," he said. "I have the other three grand slam titles at home. I want to win the French because all the great players have won it ... But it doesn't matter if it happens when I am 22 or 32."