The day the great Pete Sampras was outplayed, outguned, outrun by a 20 years old from Russia.

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Sampras had just won his 13th Grand Slam title, his record 7th Wimbledon title 2 months earlier, and everybody expected an easy win over this young Russian who had became the first player ever fined for lack of effort at the Oz Open that year. But Marat being Marat, the match ended up completely different…

It’s the first time I watch this match in fact, and what a skills exhibition from Marat. Returns, passing shots, quick footwork, power, he had it all.
Sampras was only broken 4 times during the championships before the final, but was broken 4 times by Marat. Sampras had to wait the very last game of the match to have his first two break points on Marat’s serve (and all that despite a 49% first serve percentage). Safin kept passing and passing Sampras with his two-handed backhand. Marat defeats Sampras in straight sets 6-4 6-3 6-3.

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

I’ve never seen such a focused Marat. Yep, no racket smashing, can you imagine that?

Marat does the show during the trophy presentation:

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

Marat Safin - Pete Sampras US Open 2000

The future was bright for Marat, but what a waste of talent!

Marat Safin

Read Best of Marat Safin – part 1

Part 2:
7 – Toronto 2004: Marat the hippo
6 – Hopman Cup 2009: Marat kisses the net cord lady
5 – Australian Open 2002: Marat and the Safinettes
4 – Davis Cup 2002: Davis Cup hero
3 – French Open 2004: the pants
2 – Australian Open 2005: the relief
1 – US Open 2000: the future of tennis?
Note: it’s not a ranking of Marat’s achievements, these are just 15 moments of Marat’s career which reflect “Marat being Marat”.
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US Open Trivia

– The US Open has been played on 3 different surfaces: it was originally played on grass until Forest Hills switched to Har-Tru clay courts in 1975. In 1978, the event moved from Forest Hills to its current home at Flushing Meadows, and the surface changed again, to the current DecoTurf.
Jimmy Connors is the only player to have won the US Open on all three surfaces.

– The main court is located at the 24,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, named after Arthur Ashe, the African American tennis player who won the inaugural men’s final of the US Open in 1968.
Court Number 2 is Louis Armstrong Stadium, which stood as the main stadium until the completion of Ashe stadium. Court Number 3 is the Grandstand Stadium, which is attached to the Louis Armstrong Stadium.

-In 1970, the US Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to use the tie breaker. At the time, it was a 9 point playoff with the first player to 5 winning. The US Open is still the only Grand Slam tournament to use tie breakers in the third set for women and the fifth set for men.

-In 1975, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to hold matches at night. Fewer than 5,000 fans turned out to watch the very first night match

Tracy Austin is the youngest singles champion. She was 16 years 8 months and 28 days when she won in 1979. Besides Austin, Maureen Connolly and Martina Hingis also won the women’s singles title before their 17th birthdays.

Pete Sampras is the male youngest singles champion. He was 19 years and 28 days when he beat Andre Agassi in 1990.

– The longest match on record in the history of the U.S. Championships came on Sept. 12, 1992, when Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang played for five hours and 26 minutes in the men’s singles semifinals, before Edberg won 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4.

– In 2006, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to implement instant replay reviews of calls, using Hawk-Eye.

– In 2007, Roger Federer became the first men’s singles player to win 4 consecutive US Open.

Ana Ivanovic 1

2008: Julie Coin defeats Ana Ivanovic
After surviving a scare in the first round against Vera Dushevina, number one seed Ana Ivanovic crashed in second round. She lost to french qualifier Julie Coin, ranked 188 and making her Grand Slam debut.
Ivanovic, who had been bothered by a thumb injury, cited fatigue and lack of preparation to explain the so-called “biggest upset in US Open history”.
Julie Coin’s magical run ended against former number one Amelie Mauresmo in the third round.
Until Coin’s win, the top seed at the US Open had not lost earlier than the third round when Billie Jean King was ousted in the 1973 tournament.

2005: Ekaterina Bychkova defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova
Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to number 97 Elena Bychkova in the first round, becoming the first female defending champion to lose in the first round.

I tried my best, it wasn’t my day. What do I do? Kill myself? No I don’t. Just take positive things out of this and maybe I’ll try to learn

Following the US Open, Kuznetsova played just 4 matches during the remainding of the year, winning 2 of them.
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Site: USTA Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, NY
Dates: Monday, August 29 – Sunday, September 11 2011
Qualifying Matches: Begin Tuesday, Aug. 23 through Friday, August 26
Main Draw: Thursday, August 25. Main Draw begins Monday, August 29
US Open official website: http://www.usopen.org/

Follow our US Open coverage on Tennis Buzz and join our US Open forum.

Tickets:
They can be purchased in person at any Ticketmaster outlet location or by visiting the Box Office located at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

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Rafa dominated from first point on and defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets 6-3 7-5 6-4. The win gave him an eighth career major title just past the age of 24. Nadal joins a list of greats that includes Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall. Just 5 players won more majors than Nadal: Rod Laver (11), Bjorn Borg (11), Roy Emerson (12), Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (16).

The world number one struggled in the early rounds, but played his best tennis when needed, especially against Andy Murray in semifinals and Berdych in final.

I think the biggest difference between us was that when he get a chance, he just took it, you know. He give me one in the second set, one in the third set, and none of them I can, you know, bring it to my side and just made a break.
That just show how strong he is. I think it was just really about the small difference.

Next goal for Rafa: to win the US Open, the only trophy missing to his impressive collection.