Capriati is closed out at French Open Chang in quarterfinals

June 03, 1991|By Robin Finn | Robin Finn,New York Times News Service

PARIS -- Under the most placid of blue skies, the proceedings turned turbulent on the red clay yesterday at the French Open.

Jennifer Capriati, last year's tournament sweetheart when she went to the semifinals of her first Grand Slam event, was dismissed in straight sets in the fourth round by Conchita Martinez, and 10th-seeded Michael Chang took advantage of his familiarity with center court to upset seventh-seeded Guy Forget of France.

Monica Seles, the defending women's champion, scrambled her way out of a 3-6, 0-2 deficit to Sandra Cecchini of Italy and used a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over the unseeded baseliner to advance to the quarterfinals against Martinez.

Seles was unusually error-prone at the start of the match, missing the two-handed winners she tends to use like lasers. But Cecchini's progressive discomfort because of the calf-muscle strain she had sustained during her upset of Anke Huber in the previous round left her virtually immobile by the third set.

Seles' main competitors for her title and her No. 1 ranking, Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini, both advanced, as has been their custom here, in straight sets.

Capriati was decidedly unhappy with her final performance here.

Martinez, a Spanish clay-court specialist seeded three spots ahead of Capriati, moved into her third consecutive quarterfinal here by outplaying the 15-year-old Floridian, 6-3, 6-3.

Capriati never found her footing in the match, and was down by 0-5 in the second set.

"It was a combination of everything," said Capriati, who is heading right to England to prepare for Wimbledon and will drop out of the top 10 because of this early exit.

"I'm a little disappointed. I thought I was doing everything fine up until now. But it's not the end of the world."

Chang, the 1989 men's champion, encountered little resistance from Forget, a serve-and-volleyer who played spottily all week while complaining of a nagging case of fatigue and fell, 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

In the first two sets, Chang had to do little more than keep the ball in play long enough for Forget to snap it out of bounds.

Forget got his serve back into form in the third set, but Chang again controlled the fourth.

Chang's quarterfinal opponent will be Boris Becker, who made unnecessary work for himself in a 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-3 victory over Francisco Clavet, a Spaniard ranked 51st.

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