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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aussie Teen Slams Sampras at Queen's




LONDON -- Australian teenager Lleyton Hewitt dished out a grasscourt lesson to six-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras when he won the $800,000 London grasscourt final 6-4, 6-4 Sunday.


The 19-year-old from Adelaide swept aside Sampras at a boiling hot Queen's Club to take his first grasscourt title.


"It was unbelievable," said Hewitt, the No. 6 seed who beat three other big servers in David Wheaton, Goran Ivanisevic and Cedric Pioline on his way to victory.


The Australian has announced himself as a serious contender for Wimbledon, where he was beaten by Boris Becker in the third round last year.


"I got off to good start and that's the best I've ever returned.


"It was fantastic. Not to drop a set [all tournament] is great preparation going into Wimbledon. I was seeing the ball out there like a football."


Sampras struggled on his forehand and had no answer as Hewitt out-aced him nine to five and produced some wonderful service return winners.


It was Hewitt's fourth ATP title of the year, his sixth in all, and gave him revenge for his three-set loss against Sampras, whom he had never previously beaten, in the Queen's semifinals last year.


Sampras, seeded two, admitted: "He pretty much outplayed me. He's probably the best mover we've got in the game today and his serve has improved."


The American said Hewitt would definitely be a threat at Wimbledon.


"At Wimbledon the courts will be a little softer and slow, but he's definitely a contender."


Hewitt, his face smeared with sunblock, started nervously with a double-fault in his first service game, which he lost.


But he immediately broke back and then captured the Sampras serve again for 3-2 with a stunning cross-court backhand.


Sampras was struggling on his forehand and Hewitt's fierce service returns repeatedly troubled him.


Hewitt wrapped up the first set after 34 minutes with a strong first serve that Sampras netted.


The American seemed ill at ease, and when a broken racket string distracted him at 30-30, 1-1 in the second set, Sampras double-faulted.


He then could only stand and watch as Hewitt crashed another two-fisted backhand down the line to break for the second time in the match.


The American tried to respond, but Hewitt held his nerve.


He summed up a magical performance by leaping full-length for an impossible looking half-volley to win the opening point as he served for the match at 5-4.


Sampras duly surrendered on Hewitt's first match point by putting a backhand out, and the Australian celebrated another title to go with those won in Adelaide, Sydney and Scottsdale.


Hewitt said he had refused to let Sampras' reputation intimidate him.


"I just had to block that out and make out I was playing another person," he said.


"It gives a lot of confidence going into Wimbledon. I could not be hitting the ball much better."