DAVIS CUP ROUNDUP : Masur Beats Leconte, Lifts Australia Past France

From Associated Press

Wally Masur outlasted Henri Leconte of France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, Sunday to clinch Australia's victory in the first round of the Davis Cup at Perth, Australia.

Masur, ranked 36th, won the first singles match of the day and gave Australia an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series. It was Australia's seventh victory in nine Cup matchups against France.

In the other singles match, Yannick Noah of France beat Darren Cahill, 6-4, 6-4.

Australia moves into the second round against New Zealand, a 3-2 winner over Yugoslavia.

"I'm a better player now to handle top level tennis," Masur said. "In the past, I have never beaten the top-10 players on a regular basis, but it appears that now I have come of age."

Masur, 26, broke Leconte in the fifth game of the final set. Leconte saved three match points on Masur's serve in the final game with two sizzling backhand returns and a powerhouse forehand.

Leconte also had two break points in the final game. After Masur saved the first, chair umpire Fran McDowell overruled an out call on a serve by the Australian. McDowell asked for another first serve but when the Australians protested she called it an ace.

Leconte protested, but the decision stood. Masur, back at deuce, was able to serve out the match.

"It's ridiculous. It hurts a lot when you lose a match like today," Leconte said. "It's good for Australia, but bad for the game."

Thomas Muster beat 19-year-old Sergio Bruguera of Spain, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2), clinching Austria's first-round Davis Cup victory at Barcelona.

Emilio Sanchez of Spain beat Horst Skoff, 6-3, 6-3, in the final match to make the score 3-2.

Spain's coach, Manuel Orantes, said afterward that he might resign.

Austria will play the winner of the match between Italy and Sweden, which will be decided today.

Italy and Sweden were tied, 2-2, when the final singles match was suspended because of darkness with Paolo Cane and Mats Wilander tied at two sets apiece at Caglari, Sardinia.

Cane won the first set, 6-4, but Wilander pulled ahead by winning the next two, 6-3 and 6-4. Cane won the fourth set, 7-5.

Jonas Svensson beat Omar Camporese, 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 6-3, 6-1, in the first match of the day to get the Swedes even. Svensson controlled the match from the baseline while Camporese clearly felt the effects of a five-set loss to Wilander.

Despite playing without Boris Becker, West Germany defeated the Netherlands, 3-2, losing the meaningless remaining singles matches at Bremen, West Germany.

Tom Nijssen defeated Davis Cup rookie Michael Stich, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, and Michael Schapers downed Eric Jelen, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

West Germany will play Argentina in the second round at Buenos Aires on March 30.

Becker skipped the round because he said he is tired and wants to concentrate on taking the No. 1 world ranking from Ivan Lendl.

Czechoslovakia completed a 5-0 sweep of Switzerland by taking both reverse singles matches at Prague.

Milan Srejber defeated Jakob Hlasek, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, after Miloslav Mecir beat 19-year-old Marc Rosset, 6-7 (7-5), 6-1, 6-3.

The Czechs will play the United States in Prague beginning March 30.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the remaining singles matches were canceled because of rain. Argentina had an insurmountable 3-0 lead over Israel.

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