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Italian Men’s Open Tennis : Tulasne Upsets Becker in First Round

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From Times Wire Services

Thierry Tulasne of France, ranked 67th in the world, stunned third-seeded Boris Becker of West Germany, 6-4, 7-6, Tuesday in the first round of the Italian Open men’s tennis championships.

Becker, who lost the second-set tiebreaker, 7-1, said he came apart after leading, 3-1, in the first set.

“I lost my timing and rhythm. My serve and volley kept me in the match, but on clay that’s not good enough,” Becker said. “On clay, you have to be able to hit the ball five, six or seven times a rally.”

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Top-seeded Ivan Lendl eased past Jaro Navratil of Czechoslovakia, 6-2, 6-4, in his debut in the $825,000 clay court tournament.

Lendl, the world’s top-ranked player who took off two months earlier this year because of a foot injury, was never seriously challenged.

But fourth-seeded Yannick Noah of France had to struggle to down Eduardo Bengoechea of Argentina, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

The hottest player on the tour, 18-year-old Andre Agassi, came from behind to beat Claudio Pistolesi of Italy, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Agassi said he had a hard time adjusting to the Italian tennis balls, which he described as much lighter than those used at Forest Hills, N.Y., where he won the Tournament of Champions last week.

“I was so frustrated that I couldn’t play my tennis,” he said. “After I held serve, I realized it’s not so bad and I just had to adapt to the situation.”

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Earlier, sixth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador defeated Mark Woodforde of Australia, 6-2, 6-4, and seventh-seeded Anders Jarryd of Sweden beat Corrado Aprili of Italy, 6-2, 6-1.

In addition to Becker, three seeded players were eliminated.

Pedro Rebolledo of Chile downed 10th-seeded Joakim Nystrom of Sweden, 7-6, 6-3; Diego Nargiso of Italy, ranked 232nd in the world, outlasted 11th-seeded Emilio Sanchez of Spain, 7-6, 7-6, and Tomas Smid of Czechoslovakia beat 13th-seeded Mikael Pernfors of Sweden, 6-3, 6-1.

No. 12 Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union pulled out with a sore throat before his first-round match.

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