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TENNIS ROUNDUP : Chang Ousted in W. Germany

From Associated Press

Michael Chang, who is preparing to defend his French Open title, lost his opening match for the second time in as many weeks today when he was ousted from the German Open.

Juan Aguilera of Spain scored a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Chang, who was playing in only his sixth match since recovering from a hip injury. Their match lasted 80 minutes.

Chang, seeded seventh, had a bye into the second round.

Top-seeded Boris Becker struggled early but recovered and rolled past Paolo Cane of Italy 7-5, 6-1 to reach the third round of the $1-million tournament.

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“Aguilera played well and I missed a few shots and on clay sometimes that’s all it takes,” Chang said.

“It’s frustrating not to hit the shots you want to hit, but hopefully it will come with time.”

But, time is running out for Chang. He starts the defense of the French Open title on May 28. He has just one tournament, next week’s Italian Open in Rome, to regain his form.

Last week, Chang lost to Petr Korda of Czechoslovakia in the opening round of the BMW Open in Munich, West Germany.

Chang said his hip problem is completely healed. But it has cost him dearly. He was unable to start his year until Feb. 26th, but his comeback in Memphis was short-lived when he was beaten in his opening match.

Chang, 18, then took another break after aggravating the injury and has won only two matches since.

Today, he looked rusty and was unable to counter the attacking and confident play of Aguilera, who two weeks ago upset top seeded Stefan Edberg in the Monte Carlo Open.

“Being out for so long has definitely hurt me, you lose the match toughness but hopefully it will all come back in Rome,” Chang said.

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In other matches, fifth-seeded Jay Berger of the United States ousted West Germany’s Patrik Kuehnen 6-2, 6-2 and 10th-seeded American Jim Courier breezed into the third round by downing Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-1.

In Rome, two-time defending champion Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina recovered from a shaky start, nearly losing the first set, and went on to a 7-6, 6-0 victory over unseeded American Ann Grossman in the second round of the Italian Open today.

Sabatini, seeded fourth, took a 5-1 lead against Grossman. But Grossman, No. 79 in the world rankings, reeled off five consecutive games to take a 6-5 lead with Sabatini serving.

Faced with the prospect of losing the set, Sabatini hit four consecutive winners to force a tiebreaker. Back in the match, Sabatini took the tiebreaker, 7-3, and went on to crush the fatigued Grossman, 6-0, in just over 20 minutes.

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“I started playing too fast and making too many mistakes. I wanted to end the match too quickly,” said Sabatini, who has won the last two Italian Opens.


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