Safin thrashes Sampras to win U.S. Open

September 10, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) -- Marat Safin, a giant with a peach-fuzz face and a grown-up game, turned Pete Sampras into a weekend hacker. In as thorough a thrashing as anyone has ever given the career Grand Slam champion, the 20-year-old Safin won the U.S. Open 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 Sunday and stamped himself as the player of the future in men's tennis.

Boyish and emotional and blessed with talents beyond his natural power, Safin celebrated by getting down on his knees and kissing the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The youngest champion since Sampras won the first of his four U.S.

Open titles a decade ago, Safin won his first major title in the most lopsided victory over a former champion in 25 years.

``He reminded me of myself when I was 19 and came here and won for the first time,'' Sampras said.

``He passed and returned my serve as well as anyone I've ever played.''

Safin, serving at up to 136 mph and whacking a dozen aces to push his tournament total to 115, never faced so much as a single break point until the last game when Sampras finally got two.

Safin wiped those away quickly, and closed out the 1-hour, 38-minute match with a backhand pass that zipped by Sampras as so many others had before.