TENNIS ROUNDUP : Sampras Beats Edberg; Agassi, Gilbert Out
Brad Gilbert celebrated his 30th birthday by ousting fifth-seeded Andre Agassi, but still came out a loser Friday night at the $1.3-million ATP Championship in Mason, Ohio.
After beating Agassi 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (8-6), 6-4, in the longest match of the tournament, Gilbert had to play French Open champion Jim Courier after three hours of rest and was beaten, 6-3, 6-3.
Agassi wasn’t the only seeded player to fall. Second-seeded Stefan Edberg was upset by Pete Sampras, 6-3, 6-3, in a quarterfinal match that the Southern Californian called “my best of the year, so far.” Sampras was coming off the Los Angeles tournament, where he earned his first title of the year. Edberg was upset in the semifinals in the L.A. event.
“Right now, it doesn’t feel too good,” Edberg said of his latest setback. “I’m not playing badly, but I’m not playing well either. I’m having an average year. I still have the U.S. Open to look forward to.”
Gilbert was not looking forward to playing Courier on the same day that he had eliminated Agassi in a rain-interrupted, 2-hour 40-minute match.
“I’m going to be extremely livid if they put me on this evening. . . . I’m not going to go on the court,” Gilbert said after beating Agassi.
But he relented after meeting with ATP tournament supervisor Eduardo Menga, who said: “I don’t think you can have different rules for different players.”
Gilbert said the long first match left him “dead tired,” although he altered his strategy against Agassi to shorten the points.
“I thought I’d better get to the net a little bit because I didn’t have the stamina to move side to side,” he said. “He smacks the ball really hard, and if you can make him smack it an extra one, he can miss.”
In quarterfinal matches, top-seeded Boris Becker beat Andrei Cherkasov of the Soviet Union, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, and sixth-seeded Guy Forget defeated No. 14 Derrick Rostagno, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. Courier will play Sampras in the semifinals.
Top-seeded Gabriela Sabatini and third-seeded Jennifer Capriati advanced to a semifinal matchup in the Player’s Ltd. Challenge tournament with straight-set victories at Toronto.
Sabatini beat Czechoslovakia’s Helena Sukova, 6-3, 6-2, and Capriati swept Natalia Zvereva of the Soviet Union, 6-1, 6-1.
“I’ve played Gaby a lot of times and I know how she plays,” said Capriati, who is 0-7 against the Argentine but beat Monica Seles last week. “I’m not worried that I haven’t had that tough a tournament. I had a couple of tough matches last week.”
The other semifinal will match sisters Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere and Katerina Maleeva of Bulgaria.
Manuela, seeded No. 2, beat Amy Frazier, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), and No. 4 Katerina beat No. 10 Laura Gildemeister of Peru, 6-2, 6-2.
Gigi Fernandez, motivated by a heckler in the crowd and questionable calls, advanced to the semifinals of the Virginia Slims of Albuquerque by defeating Linda Ferrando of Italy, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).
Ferrando, seeded seventh, argued the call that decided the match and refused to shake hands with the No. 2 Fernandez.
In another quarterfinal, No. 6 Elna Reinach of South Africa upset No. 3 Mary Pierce, 6-2, 6-0.
Karel Novacek of Czechoslovakia defeated Horacio De la Pena of Argentina, 6-0, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the $350,000 Czechoslovak Open at Prague.
Novacek next plays Thomas Muster of Austria, who beat Magnus Larsson of Sweden, 6-3, 6-0.