The purge of top seeds at the French Open stopped today. Andre Agassi, the top man left in the tournament, overcame a sluggish start to win in straight sets and women's first seed Steffi Graf breezed despite allergy problems.
Fourth-seeded Gabriela Sabatini also won, although she blew two match points in the second set before advancing to the third round as well.A day after No. 1 Stefan Edberg and No. 2 Boris Becker were eliminated to leave him atop the men's draw, the third-seeded Agassi moved his pink-and-black tennis outfit and screaming shots to center court, and beat Canadian qualifier Todd Woodbridge 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.
The American struggled early, blowing a 4-0 first-set lead and holding off five set points. He turned it around just as quickly and allowed Woodbridge just four games the rest of the way.
"I went out today with the feeling, `The first two seeds got beat.' Boris and Stefan getting beat helped me in that respect. You can't take anything for granted," he said.
Graf beat Jennifer Santrock 6-1, 6-2 and said afterward that she was troubled by sinus and ear problems diagnosed as an allergy to "something in Paris - the clay, the air or something." She has had similar medical problems at past French Opens.
"I was wondering why I was always getting it here," Graf said. "The doctor says I will be all right in 2-3 days."
Sabatini had a tougher time before defeating Susan Sloane 6-0, 5-7, 6-1.
The Lexington, Ky., player fought off two match points in the eighth game of the second set, then won five straight games to tie the match at a set apiece.
She was up 30-0 in the first game of the third set when Sabatini started playing as she had in the first-set shutout.
Sabatini broke serve and, after dropping her own in the second game, won five in a row to finish out the match and the threat of another upset.
"I don't think I was playing very badly in the second set," Sabatini said. "I was just trying to finish the points too quickly. That's what I was doing wrong."
Also among the winners on the third day of the clay-court Grand Slam were eighth-seeded Andrei Chesnokov of the Soviet Union, who beat Jean-Philippe Fleurian of France 7-6, 6-1, 6-0; 13th-seeded Jim Courier of the United States, who beat Milan Sjreber of Czechoslovakia 7-6, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; and 1988 runner-up Henri Leconte, a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 winner over Bruno Oresar of Yugoslavia. Women's 11th seed Jana Novotna also advanced with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Brenda Schultz of the Netherlands.