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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stich Latest of Wimbledon Casualties

WIMBLEDON, England -- Just one day after Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf's title defense ended abruptly in a historic first-round loss, her fellow-German Michael Stich, the No. 2 men's seed, was bounced out of the tournament Wednesday by American Bryan Shelton 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 . The 120th-ranked Shelton, 28, from Atlanta, outplayed the 1991 champion with a bewildering mixture of power and guile on court number two, known as the Graveyard of the Seeds for its history of big past upsets. Stich's defeat left only one highly rated German, Boris Becker, still in the tournament on the third day after American Lori McNeil defeat Graf 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) Tuesday. It was the first time in Wimbledon history that a defending women's champion lost her opening match and the first time since 1962 that a top women's seed was knocked out so early. After falling to Mary Pierce in the French Open semifinal, Graf Tuesday suffered her second straight defeat -- the last time that happened was in 1985 when she was only 15. With champions falling all around, however, Pete Sampras refused to be caught up in the flurry of Wimbledon's first-round upsets. Shuffled off to one of the All England Club's outside courts, the defending champion and No. 1 seed responded with an efficient 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 wipeout of Richey Reneberg on Wednesday to move into the third round. Fifth seed Jim Courier, the two-times French Open champion, beat Byron Black of Zimbabwe 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4 to reach the second round of the event where he was the beaten finalist last year. Shelton's victory was a triumph of planning as he seemed to have an answer for everything Stich could throw at him, countering the powerful German with a mixture of strong passing shots, clever lobs and gentle little drop volleys. Shelton, despite his low ranking, is regarded as a fine grass-court player and he took Ivan Lendl to four long sets in 1990 when the Czech-born American was still in his prime. Stich, fresh from his triumph Sunday in the Halle grand prix tournament in Germany, had no excuses afterwards. "He just played every point better than I did. He played very well and he had luck on his side. Sometimes that happens, you play well and you get the luck you need as well," he said. Stich said he had not played a bad game himself. "I tried mixing up my serve but he returned unbelievably. I was waiting for him to make mistakes." Tuesday, on Center Court, McNeil, 30, a product of Houston's public parks, upset Graf. A 10-year tour veteran ranked 22nd, McNeil held her composure and her slashing serve through two rain delays, a nerve-jangling second-set tiebreaker and a gathering crescendo of grandstand excitement. Graf played erratically; she double-faulted to lose the first set, blew an easy smash during the tiebreaker and followed that with another double fault. "I didn't feel very comfortable the whole game through, and not very confident at all," Graf said. "My strokes were on and off, my serves were on and off, so it was difficult for me to get a good feeling, really." McNeil has beaten Graf before, in a 1992 first-round match at the Virginia Slims championship. A product of a public parks-based tennis program in Houston, which has launched a number of American blacks successfully into professional tennis, McNeil became a top 10 doubles player with Zina Garrison-Jackson and reached a U.S. Open semifinal in 1987. But at 30, she has yet to reach the highest altitude in international singles. McNeil said she came into Wimbledon thinking that to repeat her earlier win over Graf, she needed to focus on each point and to volley to Graf's backhand. It worked. "My concentration was really good and I felt that I was serving well, especially in the first set," McNeil said. "The wind was swirling. What was easy became difficult. I was making the right choices and the right shots." In other early matches Wednesday, American Jeff Tarango extended his Wimbledon losing streak to six, the longest of anyone in the field. He fell to Russian Alexander Volkov, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, the sixth straight year he has been ousted in the first round. Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 20, the No. 15 seed, outlasted Dutchman Laurence Tieleman in the completion of a marathon suspended match, 7-5, 6-7 (7-5), 7-5, 6-7 (7-5), 10-8. Another Russian, Andrei Olhovisky, beat 16th seeded Arnaud Boetsch of France, 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. Among the women, ninth-seeded Lindsay Davenport, just back from her high school graduation in California, won her second-round match against South African Tessa Price 6-4, 6-2. (Reuters, Washington Post, AP)