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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Edberg Out, Becker, Agassi In

COMBINED REPORTS


LONDON -- The decline of Stefan Edberg continued apace at Wimbledon on Thursday, but Boris Becker and Andre Agassi's stars were shining.


Becker, the third seed, wavered slightly before beating Jan Apell of Sweden 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, while top seed Agassi demolished John McEnroe's younger brother Patrick 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.


Edberg, seeded 13th, went down tamely to Dick Norman, a giant Belgian ranked 176th in the world, who only got into the main draw as a lucky loser from the qualifying tournament.


Norman inflicted a humiliating 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 defeat on Edberg, 29, who looked far older than his years.


In another upset, No. 11 seed Jim Courier, the winner of two French and two Australian titles and a Wimbledon finalist two years ago, was trounced 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 by Frenchman Cedric Pioline.


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Goran Ivanisevic doesn't play tennis -- he counts aces. He smacks balls off chairs and fences and humans who are unlucky enough to get in the way. A typical Ivanisevic point goes about like this:


Ivanisevic paces. Ivanisevic rubs racket grip with sawdust. Ivanisevic squeezes fluffy, yellow tennis ball as if he is very, very angry. Ivanisevic hits ball about 1,000 miles an hour.


Everyone scatters for cover.


Wednesday, Ivanisevic, the No. 4 seed, showed just what he thought about the new, deflated tennis balls being used at Wimbledon this year to slow play and put finesse back into men's tennis.


He limited himself to 28 aces in a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), second-round demolition job against Jonathan Stark.


New tennis balls? What new tennis balls?


Ivanisevic said he could hit an ace with a water ball, whatever that is.


Ivanisevic wasn't the only one unloading service bombs Wednesday.


Greg Rusedski, the best British tennis player ever born and raised in Canada, made his Centre Court debut and used 28 aces to defeat No. 16 Guy Forget, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. Rusedski, who just changed citizenship, celebrated the greatest win of his career by throwing a racket, three wrist bands, a shirt and a bandana into the crowd.


Basically, it takes more guts than brains to keep aiming for aces. Against Stark, Ivanisevic had one ace nullified by a foot fault. So he hit another ace. He was down 0-40 in one game, shook his head and hit four aces. When he finished off Stark, he punched the air. But he didn't smile.


Ivanisevic's grimaces are so famous now that a London bookmaker is laying odds of 11-10 that he won't break a smile once on Centre Court.


"I think it's a pretty stupid bet,'' Ivanisevic said. "Whoever is going to bet on it is going to lose.''


The server smiled.


Ace.


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In doubles Wednesday, Briton Tim Henman became the first player to be disqualified at Wimbledon in the Open era after he slammed a ball that hit a ball girl, Caroline Hall, in the head.


Henman and partner Jeremy Bates were leading Henrik Holm and Jeff Tarango two sets to one and were in a fourth-set tiebreaker when the incident occurred. There was no word on whether Hall suffered any injuries.


Henman said: "I was not very happy to lose the point and was angry. I went to put the ball down the other end of the court. Just as I did, the ball girl ran across, and, as I hit the ball, it hit her on the side of the head. It was a complete accident, but I'm responsible for my actions.''


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Canadian Patricia Hy-Boulais, ranked No. 72 in the world, played promising young American Chanda Rubin, the world's No. 21, in the longest match ever in women's play at Wimbledon: 3 hours and 45 minutes. Rubin took a total of 58 games to beat Hy-Boulais 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-5), 17-15.


That broke the previous women's tournament record of 54 games, set in 1948. The 32 games in the last set broke the old record for most games in a women's singles set (26) and the two hours, four minutes it took to play it set a record for women's singles and doubles play.


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