Sergi Bruguera took advantage of an error-ridden performance by Michael Stich to move into the third round of the US Open in New York yesterday.
The Spaniard won the battle of two unseeded former Grand Slam champions 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Bruguera, the French Open champion of 1993 and 1994, continues the resurgence that saw him win the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Stich, Wimbledon champion in 1991, has been suffering from a sore shoulder and said: "I didn't have a chance. It was terrible. I didn't have any strength behind my shots and couldn't play my kind of game."
The German, runner-up at Flushing Meadow in 1994 and beaten by Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the French Open final this year, simply had no answer to Bruguera, who has struggled to find his form for most of this year.
"He's not as good as he used to be but was still good enough for me today," lamented Stich.
Bruguera's world ranking has plunged to No 73 during an injury-affected year and he has recently been suffering with a troublesome ankle. The former world No 3 was joined in the third round by the Swedish 13th seed, Thomas Enqvist, who made short work of Frenchman Guillaume Raoux 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
Andre Agassi, champion in 1994, struggled for a set and half before cruising to victory 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 against India's Leander Paes. Paes had five break points for a 5-0 lead in the second set but the American slowly began to raise his game.
Michael Chang produced a superb performance to reach the third round when he thrashed the South African qualifier Neville Godwin.
Chang approached perfection against the 118th-ranked Godwin, who had come to prominence when he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
"Everything comes back so hard from Michael," Godwin said. "You think you've put one away and it comes back. You think you've put away another one and it comes back. It's just an ongoing saga. It's not nice. It's not fun."
Steffi Graf, the holder, said yesterday she had considered pulling out of the tournament because it overlaps with the opening of her father's tax evasion trial in Germany. Asked how she felt about competing as her father enters the dock on 5 September, she said: "An unfortunate date. But now I am calmer than I was."
After a surprisingly tough first round encounter with Indonesian Yayuk Basuki, Graf yesterday bulldozed the Austrian player, Karen Kschwendt, 6-2, 6-1 in just 52 minutes.
She now faces Natasha Zvereva of Belarus after the world No 27 ousted Ai Sugiyama, of Japan, ranked one place above her, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Barbara Paulus of Austria, the only other seed left in Graf's quarter, also advanced, 7-5, 7-6 over Elena Wagner of Germany. And the 15-year- old Russian prodigy Anna Kournakova moved easily into the third round, 6-3, 6-3 over Italian Natalia Baudone.
Lindsay Davenport, the Olympic champion, reached the third round with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Slovakian Henrieta Nagyova, and the 15th seed, Gabriela Sabatini, the 1990 champion, also advanced in straight sets over Ann Grossman.Reuse content