Courier, Edberg join upset list

June 24, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- Tennis, boring? Don't even think about it.

This 1994 edition of Wimbledon is going into the record books as one to remember.

A rock 'em, sock 'em upset bonanza.

Only four days into this two-week marathon there already have been more major upsets in the first two rounds than ever before here.

On Tuesday, women's No. 1 seed Steffi Graf became the first women's defending champion to lose in the first round.

On Wednesday, Michael Stich became the first No. 2 seed in 63 years to get knocked out by a qualifier.

And yesterday, No. 3 seed Stefan Edberg, No. 5 Jim Courier and No. 11 Petr Korda were handed their tickets out of town.

It was 21-year-old and 117th-ranked Kenneth Carlsen ousting Edberg, 6-7 (8-6), 6-7 (8-6), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, on Centre Court.

Courier's match, also originally scheduled to be played before the Royal Box much later in the day, was moved to Court 2, the Graveyard Court.

It was there that Stich went down and it was there that 1,130th-ranked Guy Forget took care of Courier, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Korda fell to 104th-ranked Markus Zoecke, 4-6, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

"Most out of the ordinary," was how Edberg saw it.

He has won here twice. He hasn't missed making it to the third round since 1984. And he is probably heading to the Hall of Fame at the end of his career.

But yesterday, the 28-year-old had nowhere to go after Carlsen used his young legs and several bad serving games by Edberg to get the fifth set break and wrap up the match.

"I had the match in my hand," Edberg said. "I should have won. But I didn't take my chances.

"I don't know if we're all getting to be old champions, but obviously there is a change this year. Whether it's going to start a trend, I cannot tell you. Maybe it's just one of these years that it does happen and maybe it will go back to normal next year. I think I have one Wimbledon, maybe more left in me."

Carlsen, a 21-year-old from Denmark, is playing for only the second time here.

"It is like a dream, really," he said. "To beat Stefan, on Centre Court. This is fantastic."

Fantastic is one word that fits. While Grand Slam tournaments in Australia, France and the United States are used to early-round losses by top seeds, Wimbledon is not.

The round that usually takes the greatest toll is the fourth round, but it is still two days away.

So far, however, the unexpected seems to be the norm.

Forget, 29, who missed all of last year with knee surgery, and who was simply happy to be on a tennis court anywhere, could not hide his joy, as he pumped his fist and smiled broadly out from under his baseball cap before a roaring, appreciative crowd.

"I'm surprised myself to be continuing on," he said after his first career victory over Courier.

"There were times last year when I thought my career would be over, that it was finished. Now, whatever comes is, you know, extra for me."

In 1991 Forget held his highest single ranking at No. 4. When he beat Doug Flach Wednesday, he earned his first ranking points since May 1993.

And when he beat Courier yesterday, it was the first time he had ever beaten the former No. 1-ranked player from the United States.

"I've been good on grass, though, and I knew I had the ability, even though I did not believe I would win against Jim today," Forget said. "I tried not to think about the score too much because that would put extra pressure on me, and it's the only thing I don't need right now."

Wimbledon always has been played on grass, and traditionally, the surface has been viewed as an equalizer.

But never have players seemed this equal. Fans of the men's tour have always insisted the No. 100-ranked player could beat No. 1 on any given day.

But whoever thought No. 1,103 could beat No. 5?

"I'm always in danger, playing a good serve-and-volley player on grass," Courier said. "And Guy played a great match. He made some wonderful passing shots."

And Forget believes that upsets can be pulled off on grass, "so long as you do it early. The longer the tournament goes, the slower the surface gets, the stronger men like Jim and Andre Agassi become."

UPROOTED SEEDS

Seeded players who have been upset this week at Wimbledon:

3 Men

* (2) Michael Stich lost to Bryan Shelton, 1st round

* (3) Stefan Edberg lost to Kenneth Carlsen, 2nd round

* (5) Jim Courier lost to Guy Forget, 2nd round

* (11) Petr Korda lost to Markus Zoecke, 2nd round

* (13) Cedric Pioline lost to Brett Steven, 1st round

* (14) Marc Rosset lost to Wayne Ferreira, 2nd round

* (16) Arnaud Boetsch lost to Andrei Olhovskiy, 1st round

Women

* (1) Steffi Graf lost to Lori McNeil, 1st round

* (8) Natalia Zvereva lost to Mana Endo, 1st round

* (12) Anke Huber lost to Ines Gorrochategui, 2nd round

* (15) Sabine Hack lost to Florencia Labat, 1st round

* (16) Magdalena Maleeva lost to Yayuk Basuki, 2nd round

FEATURED MATCHES

Centre Court

* Chris Wilkinson vs. Wayne Ferreira

* Gabriela Sabatini (10) vs. Meredith McGrath

* Andre Agassi (12) vs. Aaron Krickstein

Court 1

* Martin Damm vs. Todd Martin (6)

* Conchita Martinez (3) vs. Nathalie Tauziat

* Pete Sampras (1) vs. Chuck Adams

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