The German teenager Nicolas Kiefer caused a major upset in the first round of the Australian men's hard court championship in Adelaide yesterday when he beat the Swedish fourth seed Jonas Bjorkman 6-2, 6-1. The 18-year-old Kiefer, who won the junior titles last year at both the Australian and US Opens, is ranked No 206 in the world.
Kiefer's compatriot and fellow qualifier Joern Renzenbrink, ranked 168, also went through when the Slovak, Jan Kroslak, retired with a sprained ankle during the second set, with Renzenbrink leading 7-5, 3-1.
Another shock saw Javier Frana, of Argentina, dispose of the Australian fifth seed Todd Woodbridge 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, but the eighth-seeded Byron Black, of Zimbabwe, progressed safely, 6-1 7-5 against another Argentinian, Hernan Gumy.
The experienced German left-hander Carl-Uwe Steeb went through after saving three match points against the Australian wild card Richard Fromberg, who underwent a shoulder operation two weeks ago. Steeb won 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 after being down 4-5, 0-40 in the third set.
In the Hopman Cup mixed team tournament, which like the Australian men's hardcourt event serves primarily as a warm-up for the Australian Open, Arnaud Boetsch was the hero for his country as he steered the eighth-seeded French to a 2-1 victory over the fourth seeds, South Africa.
Boetsch won his singles with Wayne Ferreira 7-6, 7-6 and then partnered Catherine Tanvier to a win in the doubles 6-2, 7-6.
The French victory in Group A of the round robin tournament virtually put paid to South Africa's chances. On Monday they lost to the United States, the fifth seeds, while France were beaten by top-seeded Croatia.
In a seven-hour morning session, the defending champions Germany won a hard-fought 2-1 victory over second-seeded Netherlands in a Group B match. Anke Huber won her finely matched singles against Brenda Schultz-McCarthy 3-6, 6- 4, 7-6 and then partnered Martin Sinner to win the decisive doubles 2- 6, 6-1, 6-2.
Sinner was called up to replace Boris Becker, who decided not to enter this year after partnering Huber to victory in 1994. Sinner lost his singles match to Richard Krajicek 7-5, 5-7, 7-6.
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