Reneberg Ousts Becker in U.S. Open

NEW YORK -- Doubles specialist Richey Reneberg played the singles match of his life and ousted seventh-seeded Boris Becker from the U.S. Open in a five-set first-round victory.


Reneberg, a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, beat the former U.S. Open champion from Germany late Monday night, 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5) in a match that lasted more than three hours and ended well past midnight.


"It was the best set of tennis I ever played in my life in the fifth set," Reneberg said after his first victory over Becker. "No way I can play any better than that. I never have and probably never will again."


The first day of the Open lasted more than 13 hours, from morning rain to midday heat to night chill, from an upset of No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic to the upset of Becker. Long after Goran Ivanisevic fell in four sets to Markus Zoecke, Reneberg closed the show with an overhead into an open court that Becker could not reach.


Reneberg, 28, covered so much of the court that it seemed at times as if he had an invisible doubles partner on his side. Becker tried to beat him from the baseline, then from the net, but could not overcome a sluggish start.


Becker said organizers had tried to slow down the hardcourts this year and "everybody knows I am not the best on a slow surface."


Ivanisevic, bothered by a sore hip one week, a sprained brain the next, was gone from the Open a few hours after the first rain, muttering something about trying his luck on the women's tour.


He stood meekly behind the baseline during most of his 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 loss to Zoecke, a 1.96-meter (6-foot-5) player distinguished only by his hard service.


Ivanisevic's loss created even more uncertainty in the men's draw. No. 1 Pete Sampras is questionable to repeat as champion after being sidelined more than a month with tendinitis in his ankle.


No. 3 Sergi Bruguera, two-time French Open champion, appeared almost as comfortable on the hard courts as he did on clay, beating Bryan Shelton 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. No. 6 Michael Chang, a serious threat to win it, started off with an impressive 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Andrei Cherkasov. Unseeded Andre Agassi also looked sharp in beating Robert Eriksson 6-3, 6-2, 6-0, as did Wayne Ferreira in a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Wade McGuire.


In women's matches, No. 2 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario beat Linda Ferrando 7-5, 6-1, No. 3 Conchita Martinez beat Veronika Martinek 6-1, 6-0, No. 4 Mary Pierce beat Andrea Temesvari 6-3, 6-2, No. 9 Mary Joe Fernandez beat Sabine Appelmans 6-4, 6-3 and Gigi Fernandez beat No. 12 Sabine Hack 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3).