Tennis: Wimbledon '93: Edberg escapes from a scorching start: Swede avoids all but one of big servers in draw while defending champion ends up in the shooting gallery

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The Independent Online
IF STEFAN EDBERG and his coach, Tony Pickard, had made the Wimbledon draw themselves yesterday they could hardly have improved the second seed's prospects of lifting the men's singles trophy for a third time.

All but one of the grass-scorching servers have been placed in the opposite half and, if everything goes according to projection, Edberg will not have to face Goran Ivanisevic (he of the 206 aces) until the semi-finals.

Andre Agassi has landed in the shooting gallery. The defending champion is supposed to meet Pete Sampras, the top seed and world No 1, in the quarter-finals but the punishing serve of Richard Krajicek may come between them. The Las Vegan, seeded No 8, is on track to play the ninth-seeded Dutchman in the fourth round.

Wrist, elbow and weather permitting, and forcing yesterday's defeat by Carl-Uwe Steeb in Halle to the back of his mind, Agassi will step on to the Centre Court at 2pm on Monday to play Bernd Karbacher, another German big-name hunter. Since the first week of May, the 25-year-old from Munich has defeated his compatriot Boris Becker in Hamburg and has scored two wins against Michael Chang, on clay at the French Open and on grass in Halle this week.

Agassi and Karbacher have something in common: both lost to Henri Leconte on their first visit to Wimbledon, Agassi in the first round in 1987, Karbacher in the second round last year.

If Agassi advances, he may play Scotland's wild card, Ross Matheson, in the second round. Matheson, who defeated Jakob Hlasek, the Swiss Davis Cup finalist, at Queen's Club last week, has a first-round match against Joao Cunha-Silva, a Portuguese clay- courter.

Sampras's minefield could start in the second round if he has to face Jamie Morgan, the Australian who had four match points against Michael Stich in the semi-finals at Queen's.

Boris Becker, a three-times champion, could meet Stich, his 1991 conqueror, in the quarter-finals. Not that Becker will be looking so far ahead. He faces a potentially fraught first round against another compatriot, Marc Goellner, known back home as Baby Boom-Boom.

The forward planning looks promising for Edberg. In the opening round, the Swede will meet a qualifier, match-toughened by Roehampton but lacking Edberg's grass-court finesse and experience.

After this he may have to step up a gear against Amos Mansdorf, who came close to defeating him in five sets in the third round when the Swede last triumphed, in 1990, but appears less threatening nowadays.

Thomas Muster, the 16th seed who has not won a match in two previous visits, is the first seed in Edberg's path and Ivan Lendl or Andrei Medvedev, both of whom are vulnerable on the surface, are prospective quarter-final opponents.

It must be mentioned that two Brits are in there with Edberg, too. Jeremy Bates is a potential fourth- round opponent if he can repeat last year's progress. Bates opens against Javier Frana, one of the few Argentinians not totally averse to grass.

Chris Wilkinson, who overcame Ivanisevic at Queen's, could play the Swede in the third round. Wilkinson also starts against an Argentinian, Daniel Orsanic, who owes his place in the main draw to the withdrawal of Sergi Bruguera, the French Open champion.

If the 100th women's singles championship goes according to seeding, the quarter-final line-up will be Steffi Graf v Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario v Conchita Martinez, Gabriela Sabatini v Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova v Mary Joe Fernandez.

British players have drawn some of the big names in the opening round. Shirli-Ann Siddall plays the 16-year- old Capriati, a semi-finalist in 1991, and Lorna Woodroffe meets Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, seeded No 11 between her two Bulgarian sisters.

Graf, top seed and defending champion, must wait to see who emerges from the pre-qualifying tournament to face her in the first round. Britain's Clare Wood is a possible second round opponent for the four-times champion, though the Sussex player will do well to overcome Japans's Kimiko Date in the first round.

(Photograph omitted)

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