PARIS, MAY 28 -- Defending champion Michael Chang felt at home again and Steffi Graf was back in the groove. But a surly Andre Agassi was on the verge of being sent back to Las Vegas before making it through the first round of the French Open today.
Agassi, the men's third seed, broke rackets, screamed at umpires and drilled his opponent in the back before settling down to a 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-0, 6-1 victory over weary Martin Wostenholme of Canada.
"When I get mad, there's really only one way and that's what I was today," said Agassi.
His match was in sharp contrast with Chang's solid 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 win over Cassio Motta of Brazil and Graf's 39-minute, 6-0, 6-2 breather against France's Pascal Paradis.
Top-seeded Graf said it was what she needed after last week's loss to Monica Seles in Berlin -- her first defeat in 66 matches since being upset by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the 1989 French final.
"A nice, quick first round," said the West German. "I like to get the first one over like that."
Chang also found what he was looking for: his first victory on clay this spring, just his third win all year.
"It was nice to be back at Roland Garros," said the 18-year-old Californian, who became the youngest Grand Slam event champion when he won the French Open last year.
"Paris seems to click with me," said Chang, seeded No. 11. "I don't know what it is -- the people, the clay, the bread, or what."
Four seeded players fell -- U.S. contestants Zina Garrison and Jay Berger, South Africa's Ros Fairbank-Nideff and Spain's Emilio Sanchez.
Garrison, the No. 5 women's seed, blew a match point and was eliminated by Wiltrud Probst of West Germany, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5. No. 13 Fairbank-Nideff was ousted, 6-1, 6-2, by Canada's Rene Simpson.
Berger, the men's No. 9 seed, was swept, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, by Argentina's expert on clay, Alberto Mancini.
Emilio Sanchez, the sixth seed and a favorite in a wide-open field, lost to Niclas Kulti of Sweden, last year's world junior champion, 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1. Yannick Noah, France's own 1983 champion here but a steady loser lately, struggled past qualifier Francisco Clavet, 21, of Spain, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5. Dan Goldie of McLean, Va., lost to Niclas Kroon of Sweden, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-1.
For drama, color and fireworks, the match of the day was on Court 2 with Agassi. With John McEnroe missing with injuries, the 20-year-old Nevadan quickly set in as the tournament's enfant terrible.
Early on, he drew crowd exclamations of "Ooooh-la-la!" Not only for his rocket forehand winners but also for his attire: orange fluorescent cycling tights stretching below his black denim shorts; his long locks held back with a pink headband.
But cries of appreciation turned to whistles and jeers after Agassi blew an early lead, and his top.
He was ahead by 4-1 in the first set, then lost five games and 11 of 12 points in one stretch.
Wostenholme, ranked No. 122, played steadily from the baseline while Agassi began making errors.
At 1-1, 0-40 in the second set, Agassi stomped on his racket, snapped it in two and tossed the handle into the stands. That drew a racket-abuse warning from British chair umpire Sultan Gangji.
"I was really frustrated," said Agassi, who also screamed insults at Gangji over several line calls.
A bit later, Agassi drove an easy putaway into Wostenholme's back. The Canadian turned and took a few steps toward Agassi, but he had already headed to the baseline.
Wostenholme served for the set at 5-4 but couldn't convert. Agassi had a set point at 6-5, but the Canadian responded with an untouchable backhand down the line. In the tiebreaker, Wostenholme had set points at 6-4 and 6-5, but Agassi saved one with an inside-out forehand winner, one with an overhead. After Agassi finally won the tiebreaker, he breezed.
"My only advantage was being physically fit," he said. "He got tired."