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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stich Upsets Clay King Muster in Hot Paris

PARIS -- Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich knocked title-holder Thomas Muster out of the French Open on a glorious day for Germany.


Fifteenth seed Stich took advantage of a hot and sunny Monday that made the clay court faster to out-power the world No. 1 player on the surface 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 in the fourth round.


Fellow German Bernd Karbacher also had one of the most unforgettable days of his career, ousting fifth seed Goran Ivanisevic 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 to precede Stich into the quarter-finals.


Croatia's Ivanisevic, twice a Wimbledon finalist, suffered from a blister, but Muster had no excuse for his loss, only his fourth on clay in two seasons.


The Austrian, looking nervous, fought hard to take the first set in 31 minutes but, unusually, showed signs of weakness.


Stich, looking relaxed, started striking aces almost at will and, with a little help from the lip of the net on some crucial points, took the second set.


The third set was one-sided with the German, a semifinalist here in 1991, playing some of the most impressive serve-and-volley tennis seen in Paris since Yannick Noah won this tournament in 1983.


Stich's career looked in jeopardy only three months ago when the player tore ankle ligaments for the second time while changing before a match in Milan. He has sunk in the world rankings in recent months as a result.


On Monday, a change of shirt in the second set seemed to inspire him as he started rivalling baseline powerhouse Muster in long rallies.


Muster fought back in the fourth set to break Stich and grab a 5-3 lead with a chance to serve for the set.


But Stich, helped again by the net, levelled at 5-5 and cruised through the tie break 7-1, finishing the Austrian off on his first match point after two hours and 36 minutes.


"I did not play well enough on my baseline game. All my game today was tied up and was not good enough," said Muster, whose only previous defeat on clay this season was against Spain's Carlos Moya in Munich last month.


"Winning last year has not changed my life. This is not going to change it either," Muster added.


Ivanisevic, twice a Wimbledon finalist, fell just before his match against Karbacher started and seemed unable to regain his composure in the 80 minutes of a one-sided encounter. He was later treated on court for a blister.


Karbacher cruised through in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam tournament for the second time following his appearance in the last eight at the U.S. Open in 1994.


He dismissed the idea that injury had anything to do with the Croat's defeat.


"I did not win the match because he had a blister," he said.


Karbacher struck 14 aces while Ivanisevic, unable to use his main weapon despite the dry and fast conditions on court, managed only two.


"It was a surprise the way I played. I did not make one mistake," Karbacher said. "I served better than Goran and I played perfectly.


"Aces were the key to the match. Even when he served better I returned well. I usually struggle with my serve but I did not today."


Karbacher, currently ranked 55th in the world after reaching 22nd in April 1995, has beaten world No. 1 Pete Sampras and Boris Becker in the past.


But he said Monday's win was probably the best of his career. "I was in the quarter-finals at the U.S. Open once, but to beat a top 10 player in the fourth round is a great success," he said.


France's Cedric Pioline scored another upset when he beat Chilean Marcelo Rios, seeded ninth, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.


In the women's fourth round, former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, seeded third, beat South African 14th seed Amanda Coetzer 6-2, 6-3. The Spaniard meets ninth-seeded American Lindsay Davenport in the last eight.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)