A 20-year-old qualifier stunned the world's best player with a confident return of service, but No. 1 Pete Sampras rallied from a set behind Saturday to move into the Advanta Championships final.
After a sluggish start, Sampras beat No. 88 Sjeng Schalken 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, winning 12 of 13 points and breaking the lanky Dutchman twice at love during a three-game stretch in the deciding set. Down 5-3 and facing match point, Schalken foot-faulted."He was playing some tennis that will get him into the top 10 or top 15. He didn't miss. It didn't seem like he made any errors," Sampras said.
"In the beginning, I think Pete was not really, really there," said Schalken. "He got better and better during the match. Even if Pete's not 100 percent, I have to play over 100 percent to beat him."
In Sunday's final, Sampras will face Patrick Rafter, who beat Grant Stafford 6-3, 6-4 Saturday. Sampras has played in the finals three times in his career and won the tournament twice: in 1990 - his first tour win - and again in 1992.
Rafter, an Australian, beat Sampras in 1993, but Sampras won their other three meetings. He is ranked 60th on the tour, has won just one career title, hasn't been in a final in three years and has been injured for much of the past two years.
"Right now, the elbow's not 100 percent for me," said Rafter, who in 1994 was ranked 20th in the world.
Schalken, who had not won a match this season before coming to Philadelphia, broke Sampras five times in a two-hour match.