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Chang Loses in Hong Kong Tennis

April 7, 1998

HONG KONG (AP) _ Germany’s Christian Vinck upset top seed and defending champion Michael Chang 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 Tuesday in the first round of the $340,000 Salem Open.

Vinck, ranked 117th by the ATP Tour, outclassed Chang in the decisive third set in the match at the Victoria Park court.

The 22-year-old German said Chang was the highest-ranked player he had beaten in his three years as a professional.

Chang said mobility was one of his strengths, but he was still suffering from a knee problem.

The American said he was trying to stay healthy and that in time he ``will come back.″

Chang, whose ATP Tour ranking has slipped to 11th from second at the beginning of the year, has won the Hong Kong tournament three times.

His defeat was a major disappointment to his legion of fans in Hong Kong. The American previously never had lost in the first round of the Salem Open.

It was the second major first-round upset in the tournament.

On Monday, Australian Sandon Stolle beat fifth seed Vincent Spadea of the United States 6-1, 6-3.

In other first round matches Tuesday, Geoff Grant beat American compatriot Alex O’Brien 7-5, 6-1, and Australian Ben Ellwood defeated Hong Kong’s Wayne Wong 6-1, 6-2.

Also advancing to the second round was Goichi Motomura of Japan, who struggled to a 7-6 (7-2), 0-6, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Radomir Vasek of the Czech Republic.

Pete Sampras, who lost his No. 1 ranking to Chile’s Marcelo Rios last week, pulled out of the tournament because of a shoulder injury.

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