Tuesday, August 08, 2000

Two-time champ Chang loses in 1st round

Schalken pulls upset with 3rd-set rally

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Michael Chang
(AP photos)
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        MASON — Michael Chang lost his serve, then his nerve, and the fan favorite became the first big name to exit the Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati.

        On the tournament's opening day, Chang played the longest match and ended a long string of first-round fortune. Sjeng Schalken upset the two-time tournament champ 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 Monday night, rallying from a 2-0 third-set deficit by breaking Chang's serve twice in the set.

        “I try to take things in stride now, after all the problems I've had,” Chang said.

        Chang had won six of his last seven matches, including winning the Mercedes-Benz Cup two weeks ago in Los Angeles for his first title in two years.

Sjeng Schalken
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        “The week in Los Angeles was a great week, and obviously I would have liked to carry it over into Toronto and here, but it just wasn't meant to be.”

        Schalken, a native of The Netherlands ranked 45th in the ATP Champions race, broke the 25th-ranked Chang's serve six times in a match that took 2:13.

        “He will never give up, so you know you always have to fight him a couple of times in a match,” Schalken said. “You have to know that at the start.”

        It was the first opening-match defeat in Chang's 13 appearances here. Chang is 38-11 in Cincinnati, the all-time leader in victories among active players. He was attempting to tie Jimmy Connors for second on the tournament's victory list. Stefan Edberg is first with 45 victories.

        The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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