Defending champion Michael Chang needed another of his center court comebacks today to stay alive in the French Open. His opponent said he also got some unfair help from the officials.
Andre Agassi, the top-ranked man left in the tournament, advanced with ease against the lowest-rated survivor.
Chang, who escaped from numerous tight spots a year ago to become the youngest man to win the clay-court Grand Slam event, did it again in the third round with a 2-6, 5-7, 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Swedish qualifier Christian Bergstrom.
The 18-year-old from Placentia turned the match around by winning nine games in a row in the third and the start of the fourth sets.
Bergstrom argued a line call on a key point in the last of those games and accused officials of favoring top players such as Chang on close shots. But by the time that point was played, Bergstrom already was tiring and Chang's shots were finding the mark.
"You can't let it bother you," Chang said of the disputed call. "It's frustrating when you have a call against you on a big point, but when the guy comes down from the chair and says it's out, you've got to go along."
Chang served out the fourth set with an ace, then got the break he needed in the final set when Bergstrom netted a backhand to give the defending champion a 4-3 lead.
By the end of the match, both players were spent, bending over to catch their breath between points. But Chang had enough strength left to serve out the victory, getting the final point on a backhand passing shot after 3 1/2 hours.
"I knew it would be a tough match," Chang said. "He's a Swede, which means he's good on clay. I had prepared my mind to be out there for quite some time, whether it was three sets, four sets or five sets."
It was the third time in his career that Chang has come back from two sets down to win a Grand Slam match. He beat Tim Wilkison that way at the 1987 U.S. Open and did the same against Ivan Lendl in a memorable fourth-round match at last year's French Open. Chang also came from behind to beat Stefan Edberg in the final.
Bergstrom, meanwhile, had not dropped a set in his first two matches and was one of a record five qualifiers in the third round.
Other early matches on the tournament's fifth day found seeded players having easier times.
Agassi, the No. 3 seed from the United States, beat Arnaud Boetsch of France, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0.
Andrei Chesnokov, the men's eighth seed from the Soviet Union, beat Jordi Arrese of Spain, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2, while American Jim Courier, the 13th seed, beat Johan Anderson of Australia, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1.
The Agassi and Courier victories set up a rematch of last year's meeting, when Courier upset Agassi in the third round.
"We've always been sort of rivals," Courier said. Agassi countered: "I'll feel, to say the least, very confident. But I'll go out there ready for a fight."
Fourth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini had the easiest time, beating Nathalie Herreman of France, 6-0, 6-1.
Conchita Martinez, a Spaniard seeded ninth in the women's draw, beat Radka Zrubakova of Czechoslovakia, 6-1, 6-3; eighth-seeded Katerina Maleeva beat Julie Halard of France, 6-2, 6-1; and 11th-seeded Jana Novotna beat Eva Sviglerova in a match of Czechoslovaks, 7-5, 6-2.