Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Capriati Upset as Sampras Rolls On

MELBOURNE, Australia -- World No. 1 Pete Sampras and Swiss starlet Martina Hingis marched into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday, but former prodigy Jennifer Capriati broke down in tears after an unexpected defeat.


Sampras, the top seed and hot favorite for the men's title, streamrolled Romanian qualifier Dinu Pescariu 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.


Sixteen-year-old Hingis picked up a warning for racket abuse before subduing German veteran Barbara Rittner 6-1, 7-5 on Center Court.


But the real drama came in the off-court media room, where Capriati broke down in tears after being ousted in the first round of her Australian Open comeback.


Four years after her last appearance in Melbourne, when she reached the quarter-finals at the age of 16, Capriati was beaten 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 by fellow American Jolene Watanabe in a performance that left a crowd of fans disappointed.


After reaching the final of a Sydney warm-up tournament Saturday, Capriati had been expected to enjoy a straightforward passage to the second round.


But Watanabe, a 28-year-old who had never previously advanced beyond the first round of the Australian grand slam event, was able to sit out the match on the baseline and watch Capriati throw it away.


"It was the perfect opportunity to beat her after her big wins last week," said Watanabe.


Of Capriati, she cautioned: "Everyone loses. And if she lets it bother her, she's doomed."


Asked how she felt about the warm public support she has enjoyed since returning to tennis, Capriati started to reply "just being out there and hearing the crowd..." but burst into tears, sobbing heavily before being escorted away.


Czechoslovak-born Hingis was warned by the umpire after throwing her racket into the net in the second set.


Hingis had strolled through the first set, but Rittner lifted her game in a see-sawing second set.


Even if Hingis fails to deny top seed Steffi Graf a fifth Australian Open crown, her financial future is secure.


Italian sportswear manufacturer Sergio Tacchini announced a five-year deal which will see her paid at least $7.5 million and up to $12 million if she ousts Graf from the top spot.


In other action, men's 11th seed and former champion Jim Courier survived a first-round scare against Dutchman Sjeng Schalken, beating him 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 in a fierce slugfest.


(Reuters, AP)