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Bastl triumphs over Sampras

Bastl returns the ball to Sampras during Wednesday's second-round match

(Keystone)

Switzerland's George Bastl has won an astonishing second-round victory at Wimbledon by defeating American tennis star Pete Sampras in five sets.

In a marathon match, Bastl defeated the seven-times Wimbledon singles champion 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4 to give Sampras his second Swiss surprise in as many years.

Twelve months ago the American lost a thrilling fourth round encounter to Swiss number one Roger Federer - but Wednesday's defeat was clearly in a different league for this year's sixth seed.

"Bigger shock"

"It is a much bigger shock for me than last year," Sampras admitted after suffering his earliest Wimbledon exit in 11 years.

Ironically though the upset is likely to extend the former world number one's career. Sampras had reportedly been considering retirement after this year's Wimbledon but the nature of Wednesday's defeat now appears to have caused a rethink.

"I can't say goodbye with a defeat like that," Sampras insisted afterwards.

The former world number one at least found himself in good company on Wednesday with two other big names suffering second round upsets.

Fellow American Andre Agassi, seeded third at Wimbledon this year, crashed out in straight sets to Thailand's Paradorn Srichapan (ATP 67) just hours after Russian second seed Marat Safin tumbled to Belgium's Olivier Rochus (ATP 63).

Lucky loser

Bastl - who only secured his place in this year's tournament through the lucky loser system after Spain's Felix Mantilla pulled out with a knee injury - had won just one previous grass-court match before Wednesday's encounter.

"It's a nice story isn't it?", Bastl said after the match. "I gave myself chances because I was practicing on grass for the last three weeks."

"I had won my last three matches and I knew my game was improving match by match. I felt I would have some sort of a chance," he added proudly.

His extraordinary performance against Sampras has provided some much-needed Swiss cheer following the similarly unexpected result on Tuesday which saw Federer tumble out of the Grand Slam event.

The Swiss world number nine, tipped as one of the main contenders for this year's Wimbledon title, was stunned in straight sets by Croatian qualifer Mario Ancic.

swissinfo with agencies


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