Muster, Edberg ousted in 4th round in Paris Pioline, Karbacher top Rios, Ivanisevic in upsets

French Open


PARIS -- It was a sweet enough spring day, but Roland Garros germinated a pair of bitter defeats. The tunnel-visioned Thomas Muster no longer can pursue a second consecutive French Open crown, and Stefan Edberg, the consummate tennis professional, will retire without ever having earned one.

Muster's four-set loss to Michael Stich ended the chance of extending the recent string of back-to-back winners, launched by Jim Courier in 1991 and 1992 and followed by Sergi Bruguera in 1993 and 1994.

Edberg's straight-sets loss to Marc Rosset ended his final attempt to win the French Open title and put him in the company of Jack Kramer, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, as players who retired with trophies from every Grand Slam event except this one.

And if those two losses were not sufficiently dramatic, the day's other two fourth-round men's matches turned out two upsets: Cedric Pioline defeated ninth-seeded Marcelo Rios, and Bernd Karbacher ousted No. 5 Goran Ivanisevic.

Paris' very own, very stylish Pioline fashioned a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over the sulky and unshaven Rios, an upset that was music to the ears and balm to the hearts of local fans, who have no one else French to cheer.

"I was surprised that it was so easy," said Pioline, who then confirmed that the 20-year-old Rios, a recent arrival and first Chilean in the top 10, is as unpopular with his peers, whom he avoids, as he is with the news media, which he shuns.

"He's a bit arrogant, a bit bothering," said Pioline, 26.

Ivanisevic, who was hobbled by a blister, was a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 loser to the 56th-ranked Karbacher.

"It's just bad because I knew I played good, I got my confidence back, the draw was OK, it's just bad luck," said Ivanisevic, who started the year by winning four titles in seven finals, tailed off when the clay season started, then stormed through the first three rounds here without dropping a set.

But the second-seeded Muster and the unseeded Edberg were the attention-getters.

Muster was thumped, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), by Stich, Germany's mercurial man for all courts. Stich snapped 23 aces past the Austrian, who lost for just the second time in 34 matches on clay this year and for only the fourth time in his 103 matches on clay in 1995 and 1996.

"I just didn't put my game together as I usually do," Muster said after a decidedly bland performance. "I wasn't aggressive enough with my footwork."

But Muster, whose hairline is in full retreat, insisted he wasn't about to hasten the process by tearing out his hair over this loss.

"I mean, it's a disappointment now, but when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will hopefully have the same hair," he said. "Winning last year hasn't changed my life, and this is not going to change my life, either."

It will, however, make it a lot bleaker and a lot more possible that, unlike Edberg, who has six Grand Slam titles to keep him company in his dotage, Muster never may find a bookend for his 1995 trophy.

Muster, 28, came into the French Open brimming with the confidence that comes from successfully having defended his titles at five clay-court events this season and having juggled the No. 1 ranking with Pete Sampras.

But Muster without bluster is a most beatable contender, and that is the player the 15th-seeded Stich encountered on Court Suzanne Lenglen. As predicted by his peers in the top three, Sampras and Andre Agassi, Muster was ambushed by a serve-and-volleyist who rushed him into errors, toyed with his rhythm and refused to be intimidated by his bullishness from the baseline.

"He was definitely not on top of his game, but I didn't mind, actually," said Stich.

Men's singles, fourth round

Michael Stich (15), Germany, def. Thomas Muster (2), Austria, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1); Cedric Pioline, France, def. Marcelo Rios (9), Chile, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2; Marc Rosset (14), Switzerland, def. Stefan Edberg, Sweden, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3; Bernd Karbacher def. Goran Ivanisevic (5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.

Doubles, third round

Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Russia, and Daniel Vacek, Czech Republic (7), def. Luis Lobo, Argentina, and Javier Sanchez, Spain (10), 7-6 (10-8), 7-5; Donald Johnson, Chapel Hill, N.C., and Francisco Montana, Miami, def. Lan Bale, South Africa, and Stephen Noteboom, Netherlands, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); Jonas Bjorkman and Nicklas Kulti, Sweden (9), def. Sebastien Lareau, Canada, and Alex O'Brien, Amarillo, Texas (8), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, Australia (1), def. Mark Philippoussis and Patrick Rafter, Australia (15), 6-4, 7-6 (11-9).

Women's singles, fourth round

Conchita Martinez (3), Spain, def. Amanda Coetzer (14), South Africa, 6-2, 6-3.

Doubles, third round

Katrina Adams, Missouri City, Texas, and Mariaan de Swardt, South Africa (9), def. Lisa Raymond, Wayne, Pa., and Rennae Stubbs, Australia (7), 6-3, 7-5; Alexandra Fusai, France, and Mercedes Paz, Argentina, def. Julie Halard-Decugis and Nathalie Tauziat, France (8), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6; Martina Hingis, Switzerland, and Helena Sukova, Czech Republic (6), def. Elizabeth Smylie, Australia, and Linda Wild, Hawthorn Woods, Ill., 7-6 (9-7), 6-2; Meredith McGrath, Midland, Mich., and Larisa Neiland (3), Latvia, def. Conchita Martinez, Spain, and Patricia Tarabini (12), Argentina, 7-5, 7-5; Gigi Fernandez, Aspen, Colo., and Natasha Zvereva (2), Belarus, def. Rachel McQuillan and Louise Pleming, Australia, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).

Pub Date: 6/04/96

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