Pete Sampras Loses to Todd Martin

Wednesday, January 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) _ Pete Sampras started the 2002 tennis season the same way he finished last year _ on the losing side of the net.

Unseeded Todd Martin upset the second-seeded Sampras 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Men's Hardcourt Championships on Wednesday.

Sampras, a former world No. 1 who failed to win a tournament in 2001, accepted a wild card for the event as a tuneup for the Australian Open, scheduled to begin Jan. 14 in Melbourne. The first-round loss scuttled Sampras' plans.

``It wasn't the start I was looking for,'' Sampras said. ``It's not a major setback. Setback is a pretty strong word, it's just more not ideal.

``I have just got to start over, get back to the drawing board and hopefully gain some confidence next week.''

Sampras plans on traveling to Melbourne on Thursday. He'll compete in an exhibition tournament next week.

``It would have been nice to have played really well here and get into the final and possibly win it and get that confidence,'' Sampras said.

``That's what I was looking for, but it didn't happen, so I have just got to start over again and hopefully play some good tennis next week and hopefully peak at (the Australian Open).

``It's not the start that I wanted, but this is where I'm at.''

Martin said Sampras' confidence has slipped.

``Since he's not winning as many matches and not playing as many matches because he's not winning, his confidence has waned,'' Martin said.

``He is not hitting certain shots with the same amount of authority. He's not taking some of the same chances that he took in years past.''

Mark Philippoussis, playing his first match in six months, appeared to be fully recovered from knee surgery. He beat Julien Boutter of France 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match.

Also, French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu beat Andrew Ilie of Australia 6-3, 6-1. Fourth-seeded Hicham Arazi of Morocco beat Michel Kratochvil of Switzerland 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (3).

In night matches, top seed Tim Henman of Britain advanced when Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark retired with a shoulder injury. Henman won the first set 7-6 (2).

Britain's Greg Rusedski, the sixth seed, also advanced with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Australian Scott Draper.