Seoul:In an exhibition match between the giants of tennis present and past, world No 1 Roger Federer defeated Pete Sampras in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
The match in Seoul is the first of three Asian exhibitions the two legends will play. The pair meet again on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Macau two days later.
Sampras, 36, retired in 2002, a year after the only previous meeting between the pair at Wimbledon 2001.
Federer won that fourth round match in five sets. If the Swiss star - who lifted his fourth Masters Cup title Sunday in Shanghai - expected an easier ride against the aging American he was in for a shock.
Sampras brought cheers from the crowd at Seoul's Olympic Tennis Arena as he fired down two fierce aces in his first service game.
The balding Sampras proceeded to break his opponent's serve and then moved 4-2 ahead courtesy of a delightful drop shot.
"I feel pretty good," Sampras told Korean television after the game. "I made it competitive, which was my goal. Obviously Roger is the best player in the world and I retired five years ago. I am grateful that he invited me."
Federer was equally happy with the workout.
"Pete was one of my idols growing up and it's great to play him," Federer said. "It wasn't easy for me, it wasn't easy for him as he's been retired five years. I am number one and everyone expects me to win."
All the familiar trademark volleys and serves were on display but Sampras, who has won 14 Grand Slams to Federer's 12, was slower around the court than in his 1990s heyday and made a number of unforced errors.
Federer took advantage of those to break the serve Sampras and take the first set 6-4.
Apart from three successive lobs that Federer served up to his opponent in the second game of the second set, the game was a competitive, though light-hearted affair.
By that time, Federer was hitting his stride and took the second set with a minimum of fuss.
"I have no plans to come back from retirement," said Sampras. "You have to come back for a reason. I just stay home and watch Roger win on television."