USC All-American George Bastl Upsets Seven-Time Champion Pete Sampras
June 26, 2002
WIMBLEDON, England -- Former USC All-American George Bastl upset seven-time champion Pete Sampras in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday (June 26) in five sets, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4. It marked Sampras' earliest exit from the grass-court championship in 11 years.
It was one of the worst defeats of Sampras' career and, on paper, one of the biggest upsets in recent Wimbledon history.
Bastl, 27, from Switzerland and ranked 145th in the world, was in the draw only because Spain's Felix Mantilla pulled out with a knee injury.
Bastl was an NCAA singles and doubles finalist in 1997at USC where he lettered two years (1997-98) after transferring from South Florida. He played No. 1 for the Trojans and garnered singles All-American honors both seasons and doubles All-American accolades in 1997.
On a court nicknamed the 'graveyard of champions,'' Sampras' body language after his defeat was particularly downcast. After he hit a forehand way long on match point, he trudged head down and shoulders slumped to the net.
Bastl, who had won just one previous grass-court match, pumped his fists, shouted, 'Come on!'' and tossed his wrist bands into the crowd.
Sampras stayed behind, slumped on his chair with head bowed, for about two minutes after Bastl left the court. The former champion then walked off very slowly, briefly raising his right hand as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Bastl broke Sampras twice in each of the first two sets and appeared headed to a straight-set win. But Sampras, who has come back to win from two sets down five times in his career, broke for the first time for 2-1 in the third set and again in the ninth game to take the set.
Sampras broke twice again in the fourth set, sending the match into a decisive fifth, where was up 4-3 and had a break point to go up 5-3.
But Bastl saved the point with an overhead, held and got the decisive break in the next game. He hit a backhand serve return at Sampras' feet, forcing a forehand volley error. Bastl then served out the match.
Sampras had only eight aces, along with 10 double faults and 25 unforced errors. His first-serve percentage was just 57 percent. Bastl had 12 aces.
Sampras, who is used to playing on Centre Court or Court 1, looked out of place on Court 2 -- a small, intimate court which seats about 3,000. He's the latest champion to lose on that court, joining a list that includes John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase, Richard Krajicek, Andre Agassi and Pat Cash.