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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Agassi, Chang Among Fallen U.S. Seeds

WIMBLEDON, England -- Andre Agassi became the latest victim of Wimbledon's "graveyard of champions."


Third-seeded Agassi, the 1994 champion, was bounced in the first round Monday by American journeyman Doug Flach 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Agassi's defeat came on Court 2, which has a tradition of being unkind to former champions.


Flach, a qualifier ranked No. 281 in the world, closed out the match in the fourth-set tie-breaker with a big serve down the middle that Agassi returned wide.


It was the latest loss in a miserable year for Agassi, who was upset in the second round of the French Open earlier this month by another American journeyman, Chris Woodruff.


Agassi has played only five matches in the last three months, winning only two.


Agassi was one of four men's seeds eliminated on the opening day, joining No. 6 Michael Chang, No. 8 Jim Courier and No. 15 Arnaud Boetsch.


Chang lost 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 to Alberto Costa, a Spanish clay-court expert who had never won a grass-court match.


Courier, runner-up here three years ago, was ousted in four sets by fellow American Jonathan Stark. Stark, a doubles specialist who took the mixed doubles title last year with Martina Navratilova, won 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.


And France's Boetsch was beaten by Alexander Radulescu of Germany 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 5-7, 9-7.


Pete Sampras, opening his bid for a fourth straight Wimbledon title, lost the first set and went down a break in the second before rallying to beat Richey Reneberg.


After struggling to find his footing and rhythm in the early going, Sampras settled into his grass-court groove on Centre Court and powered to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory in 2 hours, 14 minutes.


"The court was so green, a little bit slippery," said Sampras. "It was hard keeping my footing out there. Every year I play the first match at two o'clock. It's always the same ball game, very slippery. I can get used to that."


Following Sampras on Centre Court was Monica Seles, the women's No. 2 seed playing her first match at Wimbledon since losing in the 1992 final to Steffi Graf.


Seles looked at home as she breezed to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Ann Grossman in 50 minutes. Grossman smiled and twirled her racket after holding serve at love in the second game, but she barely put up a challenge the rest of the way.


Seles received a long ovation after the match as the crowd acknowledged her return to Wimbledon for the first time since her stabbing by a deranged fan in 1993.


"It was almost like walking out there the first time for me," Seles said. "The crowd was so responsive. It was a great welcome."


Boris Becker, the three-time champion and No. 2 seed, got off to an easy start by routing Jean-Philippe Fleurian of France 6-0, 6-2, 6-3.


Fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic, a two-time finalist, breezed to a 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 win over David Nainkin, who filled in at the last minute for injured Bernd Karbacher.


Costa lost to Chang in the first round in his only previous Wimbledon appearance in 1994. And he lost in the first round of his two Wimbledon warm-up tournaments in Rosmalen, Netherlands, and Nottingham, England.


But Costa converted all five of his break-point chances, while Chang converted only five of 15.


"I just wasn't able to convert on those break points, and it makes a big difference on grass," Chang said.


Chang, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 1994, double-faulted on match point. It was the second consecutive early Wimbledon exit for Chang, who was ousted in the second round last year.


"It's always disappointing to lose, period -- in the first round or in the quarterfinals," Chang said.