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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sampras Beats Heat, Edberg in Colonial

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Pete Sampras used a baseball cap to counter the heat and staved off a strong challenge from Stefan Edberg on Friday to advance to the final of the Colonial Classic tennis tournament at Kooyong.


Sampras, who usually avoids wearing caps because they interfere with his concentration, downed the Swede 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 in just under two hours.


Sampras now will play fellow American Michael Chang in Saturday's final of the eight-man exhibition.


Chang defeated Boris Becker in three tough sets on Thursday.


The exhibition is one of a series of warm-up events for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday at the nearby National Tennis Center. It is played on the same Rebound Ace surface.


Sampras, the world's top-ranked player, will defend his men's singles title at the Australian Open and said he is happy with his form.


"It was windy and hot today but I thought I played pretty well," he said. "My game is getting better and better. I'm ready to go."


Sampras and Chang have been rivals since they began playing the game.


"We've played each other since we were seven and tomorrow won't be any different," Sampras said. "We'll be at each others' throats."


Boris Becker, who was due to play Edberg in a third-place playoff, was forced to withdraw with a knee complaint.


Organizers said he had pulled out as a precaution after suffering a slight strain during his three-set defeat by Michael Chang on Thursday.


It is believed the problem is unlikely to keep him out of the Australian Open, starting on Monday.


New South Wales Open


Patrick McEnroe advanced to his fourth ATP Tour career singles final, downing Italian baseliner Andrea Gaudenzi in a counter-punching battle Friday at the New South Wales Open tennis tournament in Sydney, Australia.


In the women's event, Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini survived an early scare to beat American Patty Fendick 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals of the $650,000 tournament.


McEnroe, 28, beaten in his three previous singles finals, triumphed 6-3, 6-4 in his semifinal against the seventh-seeded Gaudenzi, struggling with tendinitis in his serving arm, on a sun-drenched White City center court.


The American, a semifinalist at the 1991 Australian Open, will face Australian Richard Fromberg in Saturday's final. Fromberg beat Italy's Renzo Furlan 6-4, 6-3 in Friday's other semifinal.


Sabatini, the second seed, set up a semifinal against American Mary Joe Fernandez when she came from behind to beat Fendick in a one-hour, 45-minute quarterfinal. Fendick, 29, broke all three of Sabatini's serves in the set but then failed to ram home the advantage.


Japan's Kimiko Date, the reigning titleholder, shrugged off a stomach muscle strain to also advance to the semifinals with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal win over Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands.


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Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was refusing to look too far ahead on Friday after the women's draw for next week's Australian Open gave her a clear run at Steffi Graf's world number-one position.


The Spanish top seed will go past the injured Graf if she wins the Australian title for the first time and has managed to avoid at least one potential threat in her half of the draw.


France's Mary Pierce, seeded fourth, has been placed in the bottom half with Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, leaving the inconsistent Gabriela Sabatini as Sanchez Vicario's most likely semifinal opponent.


But the Spanish world number two insisted she was solely concerned with her first-round match against China's Li Fang. "I know I'm close, but I'm not going to put any pressure on myself," Sanchez Vicario said. "I'm not in a hurry." (Reuters, AP)