Seles Stays Undefeated Down Under

MELBOURNE -- Never having lost Down Under, Monica Seles picked up Tuesday where she left off at the Australian Open.

Despite a pulled groin muscle that caused her to wince in pain at times, the top-seeded Seles ran her streak to 22-0 at this Grand Slam event as she brushed past 19-year-old Janet Lee 6-3, 6-0 in 47 minutes on a cool, cloudy afternoon.

Pete Sampras, the men's No. 1, showed few lingering effects of the flu that delayed his arrival as he played mostly from the baseline to bedevil Tasmanian Richard Fromberg 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

Defending champion Mary Pierce, who didn't drop a set on her way to the 1995 title, her only Grand Slam triumph, beat Petra Schwarz of Austria 6-3, 6-1 in evening play.

Former champion Boris Becker struggled to a 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Greg Rusedski as two of the game's biggest servers spent much of a chilly night exchanging service breaks.

Becker, the No. 4 seed, had six breaks and Rusedski, a Canadian native who now plays for Britain, had four in the 2-hour, 49-minute match, which lasted almost until midnight.

Sampras, who saved all 10 of the break-points against him, didn't bother cranking up his big serve, hitting only four aces to Fromberg's 11. Instead, the 1994 champion contented himself by picking his spots to charge the net. That worked to perfection as he put away 11 volley winners to Fromberg's one.

"I'm over it. I feel fine," Sampras said of the flu, though he still sounded nasal and congested. "I wasn't really sure how my form was going to be. I felt I hit the ball pretty well, but I didn't serve great."

Unseeded Stefan Edberg, champion in 1985 on grass and 1987 on these hardcourts, began his last Australian Open with a tough 7-6 (8-6), 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-1 victory over No. 36-ranked Jiri Novak.

Edberg, who turns 30 on Friday, plans to retire after this season.

Does he feel like a museum piece yet?

"Not quite," Edberg said, adding that he draws inspiration from Andres Gomez, who won the French Open in 1990, beating Andre Agassi in an upset.

"I think I can win another slam," he said. Then he added, "Starting here."

Three months before she was stabbed in Germany in 1993, Seles won her third straight Australian Open and the last of her eight Grand Slam titles in a thrilling final against Steffi Graf. While Graf is home this time, recovering from foot surgery, Seles is back with a bigger serve, bolder approaches and an occasional running, one-handed forehand.

Afterward, Seles said she is still suffering from a groin strained last week.

Seles is seeded to meet No. 7 Iva Majoli in the quarters. Majoli beat Moscow's Yelena Makarova 6-4, 6-2.


The chrome-domed Agassi was taking no chances with his shaved head during his 3-hour 16-minute match Monday in the broiling midday sun.

"Andre, although you're obviously used to the heat, isn't it a bit reckless, given the condition of your pate, not to wear any head protection?" a reporter asked him after his win over Argentine Gaston Etlis.

"Do I look like I'm burning a little bit?" Agassi asked.

"No. But obviously, this is Australia, in the middle of summer you might get sunburned."

"How sweet!" Agassi chirped. "You're concerned about me! I mean, you really care about me! And now you're redder than I am."

Agassi then admitted he had put plenty of sunscreen on his dome.

(For other results, see Scorecard.)