Becker and Sampras join unlikely exodus

Tennis
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The Independent Online
Pete Sampras and Boris Becker, who were involved in a thrilling five- set final in Stuttgart on Sunday which the German won, were both knocked out of the Paris Open yesterday on another day of surprises.

Sampras, the holder and world No 1, lost 6-4, 6-4 in the second round to Marc Rosset of Switzerland, while Becker also seemed to suffer a reaction, losing 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to Spain's Carlos Moya.

Afterwards Becker criticised the Parisian crowd as a "madhouse" for making unsettling noises during his defeat. Becker, who has won the event three times, left in good company. With Sampras, he joins Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster and Andre Agassi, who lost in three sets late on Tuesday night to Sweden's Magnus Gustafsson, in an exodus of leading players from the tournament.

Becker said: "I felt like I was in a big zoo. Moya and me, we were big gorillas and all around us were some other animals trying to bother us all the time.

"I'm extremely disappointed. I mean, I'm still in a state of shock because even though I've played here a couple of times I didn't think it was like that."

Rosset sent down 20 aces on his way to victory over Sampras, which he completed in an hour and a quarter, and recorded the fastest serve of the event so far at 128.6mph.

Sampras said: "He's 6ft 7in and it feels like he's slam-dunking on you all the time. When he gets his serve going, you just pray for rain.

"The key to the match was whenever I had a break point he came up with an ace."

Muster, the third seed and one of five players who have clinched their places in the eight-man ATP World Championship in Hanover next month, lost the first set 6-2 to the 1990 winner, Stefan Edberg, before abandoning the match with a hip complaint he admitted has troubled him since April.

"It's inflammation in the capsule of the hip," Muster said. "And it doesn't look like it's getting better. Resting a little more would help it."

Ivanisevic, the unpredictable fifth seed, lasted only 54 minutes on court in his fifth consecutive defeat to Dutchman Paul Haarhuis, who won 6-3, 6-2.

Results, Digest, page 27

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