Jimmy Connors, whose brilliance is part of tennis' history, and Jennifer Capriati, whose talents will be part of its future, Friday were eliminated from the U.S. Open by opponents too determined to be denied.
Connors, 40, failed to match last year's extraordinary run to the semifinals. Ninth seed Ivan Lendl wore down Connors for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 second-round triumph over the five-time Open champion. Lendl, who has not lost to Connors since 1984, has won their last 17 meetings.The weary Connors said afterwards, "It's hell being 40. I came in with a game plan but I just couldn't stay in there (physically)."
Capriati, 16, fell in the third round to Canadian Patricia Hy, 7-5, 6-4. It was the American's earliest exit from a Grand Slam in her young career.
Lendl, at 32 the third-oldest player in the men's draw, remains one of the best-conditioned athletes in tennis. Connors tired visibly, and could not keep up his successful net-rushing tactics of the first set.
This was the third successive year that Hy and Capriati met at the Open, with rising-star Capriati taking the first two encounters in straight sets.
"The third time's the charm," said Hy, a Cambodian native and Canadian citizen who is ranked No. 36 in the world.
Hy ran her bigger opponent ragged, utilizing every part of the court to keep Capriati chasing balls. The Canadian was successful on 26 of 37 approaches to the net, while Capriati managed only five points from close-range.
"She loves to run you around the court, so I had to be the one to make the first move," Hy said of her strategy.
Top seed Monica Seles defeated Claudia Porwik of Germany 6-4, 6-0, after trailing 4-1 in the opening set.
Both men's top seed Stefan Edberg and No. 7 Boris Becker started slow before winning handily to gain the third round.
Edberg, the defending champion, dropped the first four games to Jakob Hlasek, then won seven in a row en route to a 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 victory. Becker, the 1989 champion, was leading Robbie Weiss, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-0, when Weiss retired with stomach cramps.
Becker was consigned to outside court 16, and said it took him a while to adjust to the strange surroundings.
Andre Agassi and Michael Chang, young Americans who have earned honors far from home and now are looking to capture their own national championship, both breezed into the third round on the strength of straight-set victories.
Agassi, the reigning Wimbledon champion, toyed with Spaniard Francisco Roig for a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory while Chang, the 1989 French Open champion, defeated Patrick McEnroe, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.
Agassi and Chang have made it through the first two rounds without dropping a set.
Third seed Pete Sampras, the 1990 Open champion, also breezed into the third round with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Czechoslovian Martin Damm.