BOCA RATON, Fla. — Brad Gilbert, one of the hottest players on the pro tennis circuit, was beaten, 7-5, 6-2, Saturday by Thierry Tulasne of France in the third round of the $1.8-million Lipton International Players Championship tennis tournament.
The match, scheduled as the finale of an afternoon program, was extended into the evening hours.
Tulasne, a former No. 1 junior currently ranked No. 23 in the world, won seven straight games to run out the first set and take a 4-0 lead in the second against a tiring Gilbert, who is No.15 in the world.
Gilbert this year beat John McEnroe in the Masters, extended eventual winner Ivan Lendl to three sets in the Pro Indoor championship, and eliminated Jimmy Connors and defeated Stefan Edberg of Sweden in the final of the U.S. Indoor championship.
"Tulasne took the wind out of me," Gilbert said. "He hit good lobs, and I got tired chasing them. I should have been more patient and stayed on the baseline longer."
Tulasne, who said his game has improved along with his confidence since mid-1985, when he beat several high-ranked players, said, "I won because I hit nice lobs at the right moment. People told me also if I hit high to his forehand, it would bother him."
"I got tired in the second set," Gilbert admitted, probably while dropping a 22-point service game to start the set. After failing to break Tulasne's service in the second game, he fell easy prey the rest of the way.
Others advancing to the fourth round included Sweden's Mats Wilander, seeded No. 2, and Edberg, No. 5.
Wilander needed only 51 minutes to eliminate Mike Leach, 6-1, 6-2. Leach got only three points as Wilander took a 3-0 lead. The Swedish player won the last three games of the set, giving up three more points. He then won the last five games in the second set with the loss of six points.
Edberg won his match from West Germany's Damir Keretic, 6-1, 6-1, in 40 minutes. He took nine straight games, from 1-1 in the first set to 4-0 in the second, and allowed only 11 points in the process.
Jimmy Connors advanced after a slow start. Connors, seeded third, rallied to beat Mark Dickson, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In a women's third-round match, Sabrina Goles advanced easily over Rosalyn Fairbank of South Africa, 6-2, 6-2.
She joined afternoon winners Chris Evert Lloyd and Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat of Australia, who is making a comeback bid.
The top-seeded Lloyd made it to the round of 16 by fighting off Catherina Suire of France, 7-5, 6-1, after Suire led, 5-3, in the first set.
Balestrat, once ranked fourth in the world, upset 15-year-old Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, seeded eighth, 7-5, 6-4. Balestrat, who left tennis for 16 months when she fell to No. 60 in the rankings and is now No. 30 in her comeback, won the last three games of the first set and erased Sabatini's 4-0 lead in the second set with a six-game rally.