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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Seeds Ousted, Others Squeak By

PARIS -- Stefan Edberg and Gabriela Sabatini both slumped to chastening first-round defeats at the French Open as Roland Garros offered scant shelter to some big reputations. Edberg suffered his first reverse at the hands of a fellow Swede for three years when he lost in five sets to Henrik Holm on Tuesday night, while Sabatini's fall from grace continued with a shock defeat to Italian Silvia Farina, ranked 100 places below her. While Tuesday was a day of upsets at the two-week French Open, Wednesday's results were more predictable with wins by top seeds Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras. Sampras battled through two tie-breaks before subduing talented Chilean teenager Marcelo Rios 7-6 (7-6) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a 2 1/2-hour examination of his clay-court nerve. Graf also found herself in unaccustomed trouble, down a break in each set against Stephanie Rottier of the Netherlands, but recovered to win 7-5, 6-3 in 74 minutes. Ukrainian fourth seed Andrei Medvedev was also relieved to complete a 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 success over Nicklas Kulti and maintain his course toward a potential quarterfinal clash with defending champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain. On Tuesday, Ivan Lendl, Jana Novotna and Kimiko Date also suffered first-round losses to lower-ranked opponents. Between them, Lendl and Edberg have played in 30 Grand Slam event finals and have been part of the tennis elite for so long, they have come to symbolize the game. Edberg, seeded third, was thought to have a chance finally to win the one Grand Slam tournament that has eluded him. But he had 18 double faults in losing to fellow Swede Henrik Holm, 7-5, 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (7-2), 6-7 (8-10), 6-4, in a four-hour-and-four-minute marathon. Holm, 25, has yet to win a tournament, and had lost all three previous matches against Edberg. Lendl, a four-time French Open champion who was unseeded and unprepared, lost in the first round for the second consecutive year, this time to Arnaud Boetsch of France, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. He then withdrew from next month's Wimbledon tournament, citing a recurring back problem. "It is a very complicated thing and I am hoping to get better with it," said Lendl, 34. "It was very disappointing because I have been feeling good for a while with it and then all of a sudden just didn't." Edberg, 28, thought he had overcome his struggles as he prepared for the French Open this month, but lost in the first round here for the second time. It was not so much Edberg's loss as Holm's victory. Holm, who reached the third round of the last two Grand Slams events, savored his victory. When a tournament official warned reporters, "Last question," during a news conference, Holm responded, "(But) I need the publicity!" Among the women, No. 8 Sabatini continues to play like a shell of her former self, losing to Silvia Farina of Italy, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Her only other first-round loss in 35 Grand Slam tournaments was against Barbara Potter in the 1985 U.S. Open, when Sabatini was 15. Although playing sluggishly, it appeared Sabatini would advance Tuesday when she had two break points to take a 4-1 lead in the third set. But Farina, ranked 108th, held serve, then sensed Sabatini's vulnerability. "I realized she was scared," Farina said later. Sabatini has not won a tournament since the 1992 Italian Open, a span of 37 events. "It is kind of hard to believe I lost the first round here," she said. To overcome her slump, Sabatini has changed coaches four times since January. But she acknowledged that her problem against Farina was attitude. Sabatini's early departure followed by a day No. 4 Martina Navratilova's loss in the first round. Following them out were No. 5 Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, who lost to No. 94 Anna Smashnova, a Soviet immigrant from Israel, 6-4, 6-2; No. 6 Kimiko Date of Japan, who lost to No. 18 Amanda Coetzer, 6-2, 6-1, and No. 14 Zina Garrison-Jackson, who lost to No. 81 Silke Frankl of Germany in a match carried over from Monday, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. (AP, Reuters, LAT)