Third seed Pete Sampras was knocked out of the Australian Open today, beaten 6-7 6-3 6-4 6-4 by unseeded American compatriot Todd Martin.
Sampras, winner of a record 13 grand slam singles titles including two Australian Opens, crashed to a shock defeat in two-and-a-half hours.
"I don't know what I could have done," Sampras said after only his third defeat by Martin in 20 meetings. "This is the best he's played against me in many years.
"He played a great match and I give him all the credit in the world for that."
Martin had never beaten Sampras in a grand slam and lost the 1994 Australian Open final to him.
But the 30-year-old Martin, who also lost a U.S. Open final to Andre Agassi, recovered from losing the first set in a tiebreak to win.‘Just the Better Player’
He broke Sampras' serve four times and dropped his own only once as the world number three started to show signs of tiredness after three tough matches earlier in the week. Martin will play Agassi in the quarter-finals.
"From 3-3 in the second set for the rest of the match he was just the better player," Sampras said. "I always felt like I was under pressure on my service game.
"I just felt he played better than me today. I've had my fair share of wins but today he played at a high level.
"It's disappointing. It's not the way I wanted to start the year," said the 29-year-old Sampras who has won seven Wimbledons and four U.S. Opens as well as his two Australian titles.
"But I feel very eager to keep on going. I think I can still win majors and I think I can win a couple more before I'm finished."