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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sampras to Face Ivanisevic in Final

WIMBLEDON -- Defending champion Pete Sampras lost his first set of the tournament Friday but still powered his way into the Wimbledon final, where he will meet Goran Ivanisevic. Sampras moved into his sixth Grand Slam final with a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Todd Martin in a 2-hour, 34-minute match dominated, while Ivanisevic overpowered Boris Becker in straight sets -- 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 -- to reach his second Wimbledon final. Although Ivanisevic must be rated the underdog, he boasts a 5-3 career edge against Sampras, including a victory in the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1992. His form Friday was scintillating against Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion. He belted 22 aces, with the last one coming on match point, and never lost serve. Ivanisevic also played brilliantly on the return, ripping 12 winners off Becker's serve. The top-seeded Sampras too looked good, even while dropping his first set in the tournament, and is looking to be the first champion to successfully defend his title since Boris Becker in 1986. He broke the sixth-seeded Martin once in each set while losing his own serve only twice -- both times in the third set. The match featured few rallies, with most points won on either the serve, return or first volley. "It was a pretty good performance, but we didn't play great by any means, either one of us," Sampras said. Both served 13 aces, taking Sampras' total to 100 for the tournament. Still, Sampras was unhappy with his first serve percentage of 55. "I didn't really serve well the entire match," he said. "But I did serve well on the big points. I managed to get the big serve when I needed it." Sampras, who is also the reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champion, was asked whether he felt content getting to the final for the second straight year. "Everyone only remembers the winner," he said. "When you get so close, you want to be holding up that trophy. I'm not satisfied. I want to keep on going and try to defend." Sampras' only lapse came in the third set when Martin broke him for the first time in the second game with a cross-court backhand return. He broke back in the fifth game, but double faulted to lose serve again in the eighth. Martin served out the set in the next game. Sampras was shaken up when he tripped and fell while hitting a running forehand pass in the third set. He let out a scream as he tumbled and got up slowly, favoring his right ankle. "I was a little stunned," he said. "I did feel a very minor twist, but I just walked it out and it didn't really bother my performance." Sampras looked fine in the fourth set and got the decisive break for a 3-1 lead when Martin shanked a forehand volley. With Sampras serving for the match at 5-3, Martin got to break point five times. But each time, Sampras came up with a big serve -- two aces and three service winners. He finally closed out the match with another big serve that set up a backhand winner. Martin appeared less energetic than Sampras, perhaps because he had won four five-set matches to get to the semis -- a record for the Open era. He also was in a testy mood, twice confronting chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh -- once for overruling a service call and once for holding up play while a ballgirl got into position.