September 09, 2002 01:00 AM

It was a good weekend for Americans, tennis-wise.

Saturday night at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams confirmed her No. 1 world-ranking status by easily beating sister Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3, to win a third straight Grand Slam title.

Then on Sunday, Pete Sampras, 31, won his first championship in more than two years, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, by beating Andre Agassi, 32. The win marked his fifth U.S. Open title and 14th Grand Slam championship, breaking his own record of 13 set at Wimbledon in 2000.

“I’m sure the next couple of weeks I’ll reflect on it and kind of see where I’m at,” Sampras, after first stopping to kiss his pregnant wife, Bridgette Wilson, said afterward, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I still want to play. I love to play. But to beat a rival like Andre in a major tournament at the U.S. Open, a storybook ending. It might be nice to stop. But … ”

As for the Williams sisters, the AP notes that before their match, they very much behaved like siblings, with Serena walking around the umpire’s chair to whisper in Venus’s ear during an elaborate ceremony that included Aretha Franklin singing and the unfurling of an enormous American flag.

And when it ended, they hugged at the net, both smiling.

But between the lines, Serena, 20, showed little love for Venus, 22, taking full advantage of her 10 double faults and 23 other unforced errors.

“I did the best I could today,” Venus said afterwards. “I think Serena was the best player in the tournament this year.”

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