Pete Sampras, opening his bid for a fourth straight Wimbledon title, lost the first set and went down a break in the second before rallying to beat Richey Reneberg today.
After struggling to find his rhythm in the early going, Sampras settled into his grass-court groove on Centre Court and powered to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 victory in 2 hours, 14 minutes.Boris Becker, the three-time champion and No. 2 seed, got off to an easy start by routing Jean-Philippe Fleurian of France 6-0, 6-2, 6-3.
But three men's seeds were early upset victims on a chilly, breezy opening day at the All England Club.
Sixth-seeded Michael Chang lost 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 to Alberto Costa, a Spanish clay-court expert who had never won a grass-court match.
Jim Courier, the No. 8 seed and runner-up here three years ago, was ousted in four sets by fellow American Jonathan Stark. Stark, a doubles specialist who took the mixed doubles title last year with Martina Navratilova, won 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
And France's Arnaud Boetsch, the 15th seed, was beaten by Alexander Radulescu of Germany 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 5-7, 9-7.
Costa lost to Chang in the first round in his only previous Wimbledon appearance in 1994. And he lost in the first round of his two Wimbledon warmup tournaments in Rosmalen, Netherlands, and Nottingham, England.
But Costa converted all five of his break point chances, while Chang converted only five of 15.
"I just wasn't able to convert on those break points, and it makes a big difference on grass," Chang said.
Chang, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 1994, doubled-faulted on match point. It was the second consecutive early Wimbledon exit for Chang, who was ousted in the second round last year.
"It's always disappointing to lose, period - in the first round or in the quarterfinals," Chang said.
It was also another early departure for Courier, who has failed to make it past the third round since reaching the final in 1993.
Courier received treatment from the trainer in the fourth set, apparently from a strained right thigh.
In early women's matches, 12th-seeded Kimiko Date became the first player to reach the second round when she defeated fellow Japanese Kyoko Nagatsuka, 6-0, 6-3. South Africa's Amanda Coetzer, the 14th seed, advanced with a 6-1, 6-1, win over Elena Wagner of Germany.
Two withdrawals were announced today. Chanda Rubin, the women's seventh seed, pulled out due to recurring tendinitis in her right wrist, while Bernd Karbacher withdrew with a sprained ankle just before he was due to face fourth-seeded Goran Ivanisevic.
Steffi Graf, the top seed and six-time women's champion, is scheduled to play her first-round match Tuesday against Ludmila Richterova. Graf asked for a postponement until Wednesday but was turned down.
Wimbledon officials declined to break with their long-standing tradition of having the reigning women's champion play the first match Tuesday on Centre Court.
Graf has a swollen tendon in her left knee, an injury she picked up eight days ago during an exhibition in Bratislava, Slovakia, forcing her to pull out of the Wimbledon warmup tournament in Eastbourne.