Tennis: Bruguera and Becker bow out in Tokyo: Unseeded players sweep up on carpet

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

SERGI BRUGUERA and Boris Becker were beaten by unseeded players in the second round of the Seiko Super tournament in Tokyo yesterday. The second-seeded Bruguera, Spain's French Open champion, lost a two-hour battle with the American Tommy Ho 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, while Germany's Becker, the fifth seed, went down 6-3, 6-4 to Brett Steven, of New Zealand.

Michael Chang, the sixth seed, also looked in trouble when he lost the first set against Jeff Tarango, another unseeded American. But Chang, playing his first match since losing to Andre Agassi in the fourth round of the United States Open at the end of August, eventually found his touch and was 4-1 ahead in the final set when Tarango retired with an injured arm.

Tarango will also be fined over an incident when Chang broke his serve in the first game of the third set. Tarango pulled his shorts down, raised his arms and waddled to his seat at the courtside.

The umpire decided on a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct and later Gayle Bradshaw, supervisor of the Association of Tennis Professionals, said: 'It's unacceptable behavior. I will have a fine for Jeff, but right now I don't know the amount.' Tarango, known for his boisterous behaviour on court, said: 'I felt that I let the match slip away a little bit and I wanted to make light of it but I took it a little bit too far.'

Bruguera, ranked fourth in the world, squandered the chance to serve out the match at 5-1 in the final set. 'After the first set I was very, very tired,' he said. Ho, ranked 145th, said it was the first time he had beaten a player ranked in the top 10. 'I knew it was going to be a long match, but my advantage was that he's a clay-court specialist, so it was tougher for him on a carpet surface.'

Becker's failure to clear the first hurdle at a tournament he has won twice before was all the more surprising as it came just a week after he finished runner-up to Richard Krajicek in the Australian Indoor Championships.

'I definitely expected to play more matches than just one after the way I played in Sydney. But Brett didn't make any easy mistakes, volleyed great and deserved to win,' Becker said.

On the other hand, Krajicek, the ninth-seeded Dutchman, displayed the sort of devastating form he showed against Becker last week when he defeated South Korea's Kim Bong-Soo 6-4, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Australia's Patrick Rafter, who had been seeded seventh, was another casualty, suffering a surprise reversal when he fell 6-3, 6-2 to Paul Kilderry, a countryman.