Two former champions tumbled out of Wimbledon yesterday on a day of upsets in the men's singles.
The seven-times champion Pete Sampras, the No 6 seed, was beaten by the Swiss lucky loser George Bastl, while the third-seeded Andre Agassi, the winner in 1992, followed suit at the hands of Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan. Earlier, the second seed Marat Safin was beaten by the Belgian Olivier Rochus. It means five of the top eight seeds are now out.
Agassi, beaten 6-4, 7-6, 6-2, was second best to the 23-year-old from Bangkok throughout the match and shortly after his watching wife Steffi Graf had left the All England Club he was on his way home.
Sampras was still seen as a genuine contender for an eighth title despite not having won a tournament since his emotional triumph two years ago. The 30-year-old American came into the championships with a back injury but showed few signs of it in beating Britain's Martin Lee on Monday.
But the curse of Court Two, the so-called "Graveyard of Champions", struck again as he crashed out 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6 to a player who only won his first match at Wimbledon on Monday by beating a fellow lucky loser Denis Golovanov, after Britain's James Auckland was forced to withdraw with a stress fracture of his left foot.
Minutes earlier the second seeded Safin also bowed out, beaten 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, on Centre Court by an inspired Olivier Rochus of Belgium. The 21-year-old, at 5ft 5in dwarfed by his 6ft 4in opponent, made only 10 unforced errors on his way to a famous victory.
Greg Rusedski suffered a worrying wobble before securing his place in the third round with victory over the South Korean Hyung-Taik Lee. He served for the match in the third set before losing 7-5 and was made to fight before securing a 6-1, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 win.
The British No 2 will not be able to afford any lapses in the third round against the American Andy Roddick. The 11th seed dropped only five games in beating Alberto Martin.