The 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 win in this southern Chinese gambling enclave was the first time the two had played since Sampras won in the 2002 U.S. Open final for his then-record 14th Grand Slam.
The fast indoor surface at The Venetian Macao arena favored Sampras’ attacking style, but it was Agassi who came out packing more heat in his serve, showing no signs of the bad back that required four injections during his final tournament, the 2006 U.S. Open. But Sampras, who beat Roger Federer at the same venue in an exhibition two years ago, recovered, serving an ace and using a delicate pickup volley to secure the second set.
He continued his strong form into the super tiebreaker, overwhelming Agassi with his powerful serve. Trailing 9-6, Agassi saved two match points - the second with a down-the-line backhand winner - but Sampras served out the match with another ace.
"Somehow when you see Pete, it all comes back to you pretty quickly. I just go, ‘Well, I don’t really have much of a choice here (but to play well).’ It’s just nice to be so familiar with somebody’s game," Agassi said.
"Andre just hits the ball so cleanly, even after being retired for three years. The pace of his shots was very heavy," Sampras said, noting Agassi served more aces than he did. "How many times does that happen?" Agassi interjected.