For the first time in U.S. Open history, the top three seeds are sitting on the sidelines for the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Pete Sampras. No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic. No. 3 Sergi Bruguera. All gone.Also missing are No. 5 Stefan Edberg, No. 6 Michael Chang, No. 7 Boris Becker, etc., etc., etc.
Instead, the race for the year's final Grand Slam title includes players named Bernd Karbacher, Jonas Bjorkman, Karel Novacek and Jaime Yzaga.
Call it the Unseeded Open.
Yzaga, a Peruvian clay-courter, pulled off the latest shocker Tuesday, knocking off Sampras, the defending champion, the reigning Wimbledon champion, the man who was going for his third Grand Slam title this year. The score was 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.
"He's a great player, probably the best player in the world right now," Yzaga said of Sampras, "and you have to play really, really well to beat him. But I think everybody is beatable."
Sampras was, at least on this day.
In other fourth-round men's matches, Bjorkman defeated Germany's Joern Renzenbrink 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3; Novacek downed Javier Frana of Argentina 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3; and No. 4 Michael Stich stopped No. 14 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-2.
Second-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and No. 4 Gabriela Sabatini are the first two in the women's semifinals. Sanchez Vicario advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 drubbing of No. 5 Kimiko Date of Japan, while Sabatini ousted unseeded Gigi Fernandez 6-2, 7-5.
The semifinals were to be completed today when top-seeded and defending champion Steffi Graf faced No. 11 Amanda Coetzer and No. 4 Mary Pierce played No. 7 Jana Novotna.
In men's quarterfinals today, crowd-favorite Andre Agassi met No. 13 Thomas Muster of Austria and No. 9 Todd Martin faced Karbacher.
Yzaga knocked out both of last year's finalists: his third-round victim was Cedric Pioline of France. The last time that happened was in 1984, when John McEnroe beat the 1983 finalists, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl, in consecutive matches.
Sampras said he "is in the worst shape today that I've ever been. The way I'm feeling right now, I feel like I could not pick up a racket for four months."