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Rusedski succumbs to Becker

Greg Rusedski, the British No 2, suffered his widely- anticipated straight-sets defeat by the three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker in the Stuttgart Open yesterday.

The left-hander, who had been forced to come through the qualifying competition, lost 6-4, 6-4 to the sixth-seeded German in the second-round game.

"I have to be satisfied to win in straight sets here, because this is probably the best field ever," Becker said. All the world's top 38 players are entered except Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev, who is injured.

Andre Agassi squandered five match points before struggling past Spain's Alberto Berasategui, 6-1, 7-6. "I felt good out there, but I haven't played the matches," Agassi said. "Maybe that's why I couldn't put it away."

In other second-round matches, Sampras coasted by qualifier Sargis Sargsian of Armenia 6-3, 6-4. Wayne Ferreira, seeded No 7, became the second top- 10 player to lose when he lost to America's Richie Reneberg 6-3, 7-5. Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia also edged Stefan Edberg 7-6, 6-3.

Earlier, the defending champion, Thomas Muster, was forced to abandon his first match because of injury. The Austrian retired from his second- round game with Mark Woodforde, with the Australian 3-0 ahead in the deciding third set.

Muster had taken the first set 6-3, but struggled in the second, which he lost 6-1. He had intensive treatment on his left leg after dropping his serve at the start of the third set and then retired two games later.