Tennis: Courier overwhelms Bates

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JEREMY BATES, the British No 1, felt the full force of Jim Courier's power when he was beaten 6-1, 6-4 by the American in the second round of the Hong Kong Open yesterday.

Courier, recently deposed by Pete Sampras as the world No 1, took only 75 minutes to reach the quarter-finals and admitted afterwards that losing the top ranking was nagging him.

'I'm trying not to explode. I want to keep my emotions in check and see what happens,' said Courier who now meets Patrick McEnroe.

Boris Becker's return to the ATP Tour after a stomach virus ended in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 second-round defeat by Argentina's Franco Davin in the Nice Open yesterday.

'It was like playing against a wall,' Becker said. 'I kept hitting winners and they kept coming back all the time. Then I missed a couple and that was it.'