Becker brought down by Costa

Tennis

Carlos Costa blew Boris Becker out of the Newsweek Champions Cup in the first round at Indian Wells, California yesterday. The world No 38 won 6-3, 7-5 in his first meeting with fourth-seeded Becker, taking the final five games of the second set to wrap up a surprise result in 84 minutes.

Becker refused to use the windy conditions as an excuse for losing to the Spaniard. "I just didn't play as good as Costa today," he said. "When I was serving for the second set, I made two very easy volley mistakes, especially one backhand volley. You can't afford making those mistakes if you want to win."

Becker's compatriot, Steffi Graf, had no such problems in earning a semi- final place in the Evert Cup, beating South Africa's Amanda Coetzer 6- 4, 6-1 in 66 minutes in the only quarter-final of the day.

"I just let it run away from me," Coetzer said. "I don't know if it was just the wind out there, but I definitely felt that she didn't go for as many shots."

Jennifer Capriati was eliminated in the third round when the fifth seed, Chanda Rubin, beat her 6-3, 6-3. Rubin, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January, stopped a run in which Capriati dropped only five games in two matches in her second tournament back in the game since November, 1994.

Capriati recovered from 5-1 down in the first set after finding the power on her groundstrokes, but two double-faults in the eighth game allowed Rubin to break to take the set 6-3. Capriati fell behind 4-0 in the second set but Rubin dropped serve twice on errors. After that, Rubin played steadily, broke Capriati for 5-3, and won on her fourth match point.

Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, the 10th seed from the Netherlands, succumbed to the challenge of the 18-year-old American Lindsay Lee, who won their third-round match 7-5, 6-7, 6-3.

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