Australian Open Tennis Championships : Gunnarsson Uses Big Serve to Upset Leconte, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2

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<i> Associated Press</i>

Hard-serving Jan Gunnarsson of Sweden upset sixth-seeded Henri Leconte, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, today in the first round of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Gunnarsson, ranked 85th in the world, needed only 87 minutes to eliminate the Frenchman from the first Grand Slam event of the year. He served 11 aces, including 3 straight in the sixth game of the final set.

“I was serving well, and he was not playing his best,” Gunnarsson said. “I got a lot of easy points.”


It was the second week in a row that Leconte has lost to an unseeded Swede in the opening round. He was beaten by Peter Lundgren last week at the New South Wales Open in Sydney.

“My concentration is not there,” said Leconte, a finalist at last year’s French Open. “I’m mentally tired. I need to stay off the court for about 10 days.”

Gunnarsson, 26, said it was his best win since beating Mats Wilander in Philadelphia in 1987.

“I’ve beaten a couple of top 10 players, but you can count them on one hand,” he said.

Another Swede, 14th-seeded Jonas Svensson, advanced with a 6-2, 6-0, 6-4 victory over Menno Oosting of the Netherlands.

While most American stars are skipping the Australian Open, John McEnroe is playing here for the first time in 3 years.

“Just being here is a positive move,” he said. “Even if I don’t win, getting off to an early start should help me later in the season.”


McEnroe, at No. 7, is the top seeded American in the men’s field. The three highest-ranked U.S. players--Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Tim Mayotte--are not playing.

Connors is recovering from foot surgery, Mayotte has tendinitis and Agassi didn’t feel like making the long trip.