OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Olympic Round-Up: Sampras put out to grass

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The Independent Online
THE scattering of the seeds is now almost complete in the men's singles of the tennis. Pete Sampras, the No 3, joined the list yesterday, and his defeat by Andrei Cherkasov meant Goran Ivanisevic was the only one of the world's top 24 players left in the tournament.

Sampras followed Jim Courier, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang out, and had really only himself to blame as he allowed Cherkasov to escape from two sets down to win 6-7, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-3.

After Sampras wilted in the heat in the third set to lose nine games in a row, he attempted a recovery in the fifth set, taking it to 3-3, but then he double- faulted on break point to fall behind 5-3 and Cherkasov closed out the match to love.

'In the third, I felt it slipping,' Sampras said, 'and he saw that and started playing tougher. Basically I threw away the fourth set, and hoped to win it in the fifth,' he said. 'But it's tough to turn it off and then to turn it back on again.'

Having allowed one two-set lead to slip, Sampras then did it again with Jim Courier in the doubles, eventually falling to local heroes Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Ivanisevic, the fourth seed, saw off the 15th seed, Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland, while Jaime Oncins of Brazil continued his quiet progress, disposing of Mark Koevermans of the Netherlands, 7-6, 6-0, 7-6.

Becker, beaten on Saturday by France's Fabrice Santoro, warned that unless changes are made to the format of the tournament, the top players are likely to stay away from Atlanta. 'We already have five major tournaments played over five sets, we don't need six, ' he said. 'I think it should be a team competition, maybe with men and women playing singles matches and then combining in doubles.'