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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stich Slips Out of Queen's

LONDON -- Defending champion Michael Stich slipped and slid to a 7-6, 6-3 defeat by 15th seed Jamie Morgan of Australia in the third round of the London grass court championships at Queen's Club. After the Thursday match, the German world No. 2 two insisted he was more interested in preserving his health on the greasy court than in doing what was necessary to win the match. "I was scared to move as normal because it was so slippery. I didn't really go for everything and that made the difference," the 1991 Wimbledon champion, 25, said. "My health is more important to me than winning a tennis match. I have an obligation to myself to watch out for myself and my body. I could have slipped and twisted a knee or a leg and that is not good preparation for Wimbledon. "I did try," Stich insisted. "If I didn't I would have lost 6-1, 6-1 and been off court in 20 minutes. You would not ask a Formula One driver with a flat tire to drive at 280 kph just because the public have paid their bucks to see him." The match, completed in near-darkness, brought together the pair who had staged an epic semi-final 12 months ago when Stich saved four match points before scraping home 8-6 in the third set. Stich's defeat followed the upset of fourth-seeded Croatian Goran Ivanisevic by 7-6, 7-6 to little-known Swede Jan Apell. But world No. 1 one Pete Sampras brushed aside Japan's 1992 runner-up Shuzo Matsuoka to claim a place in the quarter-finals with a 7-6, 6-2 triumph. Third seed Stefan Edberg recovered from a first-set hammering to defeat Jason Stoltenberg of Australia 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. The Swede will play fifth-seeded Todd Martin for a place in the semifinals after the American knocked out Canadian Greg Rusedski 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Stich was unhappy about the slippery conditions from the moment he stepped on the court and was even more despondent after squandering two set points in the first set tie-break, which Morgan captured 8-6. After the first set, Stich asked the umpire and referee to postpone the match, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. "I knew if I got a set up, he would crack," said Morgan. "He is the No. 2 player in the world. He doesn't want to be out there at 8.30 P.M. on a wet court when you can hardly see. "He only wants to play when the conditions are right for him. He wanted to come off, but there was no danger about me coming off for the light." In Friday's quarterfinals, Morgan will face South African qualifier Christo Van Rensburg, who beat 10th-seeded MaliVai Washington of the United States 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Apell, ranked 127 in the world, took the tie-breaks 11-9 and 7-2 against Ivanisevic and afterwards confessed his astonishment at winning. "I don't know what is happening," the 24-year-old from Gothenburg said. "I have only played on grass once as a junior and two other years, but I have never done anything." Britain's Jeremy Bates, who beat Boris Becker on Wednesday, continued his progress with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 over Daniel Nestor of Canada and will face Apell in the quarter-finals. Sampras, the Wimbledon champion who begins its defense in 11 days, swept the first set tie-break 7-2 against Matsuoka, then stepped up a gear. "He has a monster serve, the court was very damp and it was tough to return. It wasn't until the tie-break that I really got to his serve," Sampras said. n At the DFS Classic in Birmingham, England, Pam Shriver brushed off Australian Rachel McQuillan and her insults at the end of the match to reach the quarter-finals. Shriver, 31, beat the Australian 6-0, 6-4 on Thursday, then had to endure the insults when she went up to shake hands. McQuillan accused her of being "old and haggard" and told her "you should retire." "It's not something I'm going to cry about, it's something I say to myself every day," Shriver said, taking it in good humor. "The verbal volleys today with Rachel are no worse than I have heard in either the English or Australian Parliaments. It's good practice if either of us end up as politicians."