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Sampras working overtime to get back on winning track


INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) _ With 63 career titles, America's Pete Sampras realizes he needs to work even harder if he is going to win more.

After beginning the Pacific Life Open with a 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over U.S. qualifier Mardy Fish on Monday, Sampras headed to another court to practice.

Jose Higueras, his new coach, suggested the extra work.

``I kind of wanted to hit a few more, didn't feel like I hit the ball that well,'' said Sampras, who hasn't won a title since Wimbledon in 2000. ``I think we're going to make that effort after I play some matches.

``If it's a three-set match and I'm little tired, I might take it easy. But I'm trying to get better, work on a few things here and there. When you don't really feel like you hit the ball that well, it feels good to go out and kind of clean it up.''

The 30-year-old Sampras used his trademark serve-and-volley game to overcome 36 unforced errors against Fish. Sampras served 18 aces to just one for Fish, 10 years his junior.

After clinching the first-set tiebreaker with an ace, Sampras came back in the second set to break Fish's serve in the first and third games.

``When you don't play really that well, but you get through a tough match, it feels pretty good,'' Sampras said. ``Anyone can go out there and play well and win.''

The champion at Indian Wells in 1994 and 1995, Sampras lost to countryman Andre Agassi in the final last year and has gone a stretch of 22 tournaments without winning a title.

Agassi, who captured his 50th career championship over the weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona, begins play at Indian Wells on Tuesday against Michael Kratochvil.

Top-seeded Australian Lleyton Hewitt opened the Pacific Life men's tournament Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Spain's Carlos Moya, and second-seeded Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov defeated Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden 7-5, 6-3.

Two high seeds in the women's competition _ Justine Henin of Belgium and Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States _ lost their fourth-round matches.

Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia beat the third-seeded Henin 6-3, 6-3. Anna Smashnova of Israel defeated the sixth-seeded Shaughnessy 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Top-seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters already was out after losing her opening match to Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy. Yugoslavian No. 5 seed Jelena Dokic and Russian No. 8 Elena Dementieva also lost earlier.

Second-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland breezed to a 6-0, 6-3 win over Zimbabwe's Cara Black.

Monica Seles of the United States, the tournament champion 10 years ago and the fourth seed this year, also advanced with ease, beating Japan's Ai Sugiyama 6-0, 6-1.

Andy Roddick of the United States, slowed by the flu when he lost to Davide Sanguinetti Switzerland in Sunday's final at Delray Beach, Florida, withdrew from the men's tournament at Indian Wells.
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