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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chang Surprised in Loss To 54th-Seeded Gumy

ROME -- Michael Chang made a quick exit from the Italian Open on Tuesday, eliminated in the first round in straight sets by a man 52 spots lower in the ATP rankings.


Chang, No. 2 in the world and seeded second here, lost to Argentina's Hernan Gumy, 6-3, 6-2 on the Foro Italico's clay courts. The 1989 French Open champion also was upset in the first round at his last event, a clay tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, last month.


Chang had won an ATP tour-high four events this season, but never found his game against Gumy -- who pulled another surprise last year when he knocked out Jim Courier, then the fifth seed, in the second round here.


No. 4 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, the reigning French Open champion, defeated Javier Sanchez of Spain 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).


Three Spaniards fond of the slow, red surface also advanced Tuesday, led by No. 11 seed Albert Costa, who beat Germany's Alex Radulescu 7-5, 6-2. Two-time French Open champion Sergi Bruguera got past Australian Sandon Stolle 6-1, 6-4, while Alberto Berasategui defeated Daniel Vacek of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4.


Other first-round action featured the $2.3 million tournament's top seed and 1994 champion, Pete Sampras, against fellow American Jim Courier.


Chang was ahead 40-0, serving at 3-3 in the first set, when he dropped five straight points, ending with a backhand into the net. The break put Gumy ahead 4-3, and for good.


The Argentinian, who lost in the first round at four of his last five clay events, broke Chang's serve in the second, fourth and final games of the second set.


In Monday's action, two-time defending champion Thomas Muster and the man he beat in last year's final, Richard Krajicek, advanced with straight-set wins.


Muster brought up his 500th clay court victory as the Austrian erased the memory of an early exit in Monte Carlo, sweeping to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Italian wild-card entrant Marzio Martelli.


Muster, who has won 40 of his 44 career titles on clay, said: "I had some health problems over the last couple of weeks and also material wise at the start of the clay court season.


"But they're all solved now, and I'm looking forward to playing well again. I'm feeling physically better every day I step on court."


Richard Krajicek shrugged off a cold to beat another Italian wild-card entrant, Diego Nargiso, 7-5, 6-3, but was disappointed not to have finished him off sooner.


"I think it was my fault because I was moving very badly, I didn't feel good physically, and I had a bit of a cold, and the pollen was making me sneeze," he said.


Krajicek's power tennis game is built for fast courts: a big serve, backed up by net rushes and crisp volleys. He's been working on moving those skills to clay.


"Here and the French Open are my last two clay events of the year, so I want to do well, and I think I can,'' said Krajicek, who'll face Germany's Marc-Kevin Goellner in the second round. "The clay is fast at both tournaments, so it allows me to play my game.''


(AP, AFP)