Tennis / Wimbledon '94: Dynamic Dane forces Edberg to join exit line: Another former champion goes out of the Championships as Carlsen defeats the No 3 seed from Sweden in five sets

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The Independent Online
STEFAN Edberg, the third seed and double Wimbledon champion, became the third major seed to lose at this year's Championships when he went out in five sets to Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark yesterday.

The tall 21-year-old Danish left- hander overcame the loss of two tie-breaks to put down the 1988 and 1990 champion 6-7, 6-7, 6-2,

6-4, 6-4 in a match suspended by darkness after the opening set on Wednesday night.

Carlsen, ranked 113th in the world, secured the crucial service break in the third game of the final set. But he had to weather a storming comeback by Edberg in the ninth game when the Swede fought off five match points to force Carlsen to serve for the match.

The Dane did it superbly, winning the game to love and finishing it off with a simple forehand volley after Edberg had tried to pass him with a blistering crosscourt forehand drive. Edberg's defeat followed those of the women's champion, Steffi Graf, on Tuesday, and of Michael Stich, the second seed in the men's event, on Wednesday.

The defeat for the 28-year-old Swede, who has also won the United States Open twice and the Australian Open twice, was his second successive early departure at a major. He was beaten in the opening round of last month's French Open by his compatriot Henrik Holm, also in five sets.

However Edberg battled hard throughout this match. In the opening set, he trailed 4-2 before winning it in the tie-break, and in the second set he faced three set points in the tie-break before taking it 8-6. But after dropping his serve in the final set, there was no way back against the big-hitting Dane, who won his last two service games to love.

Carlsen, who in his younger days had a problem with his temperament, had little in his record to suggest such an upset might be possible, though he won two matches at last year's Wimbledon before going out to the Frenchman Cedric Pioline. His best results in 1994 were to reach the last eight at tournaments in Adelaide and in his home city of Copenhagen. Carlsen's first round victim here was the German Marc Goellner, whom he beat in straight sets.

Edberg, who was runner-up in 1989 between his two victories, offered no excuses for his defeat except to say that he did not his chances. 'I could take losing the third set but I led 2-0 in the fourth and then lost my service. That let him back in and he started playing better and better,' he said. 'He played a very solid match.

'I was quite hopeful because things have been going well the last 10 days,' said Edberg, who was beaten in his last tournament at Queen's Club two weeks ago by the American Todd Martin in the quarter-finals.

'But you have to do it on court,' Edberg added. 'I didn't serve as well as I would have liked and so I wasn't moving into the net as well. It hurts, because this is such a great event to play. You love to win on Centre Court because you want to be out there again the next day. But I still think I can win here again, perhaps one more time.'

Carlsen said this was by far his best win and said improved concentration helped him achieve it. 'I was very concentrated today. I was able to stay focused on the point I was playing and not think about what had gone before,' he said.

'I felt a bit unlucky that I didn't win the second set at 6-3 in the tie- break, but I didn't do anything wrong on those points. Stefan just played three great points.'

Bryan Shelton, the American qualifier who beat the second seed Stich on Wednesday, looked as if the experience might have been too much for him as he squandered a two-set lead against Karim Alami of Morocco. But Shelton regained control in the final set for a 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 6-7, 6-2 victory.

Reports, results, page 39

(Photographs omitted)