NEW YORK — In a stunning upset, four-time U.S. Open champion John McEnroe was eliminated in the opening round today, losing 1-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to Paul Annacone.
McEnroe, the losing finalist last year to Ivan Lendl, appeared completely out of touch after romping through the opening set and bowed out tamely in 2 hours and 26 minutes.
Annacone, a 23-year-old New Yorker ranked 20th in the world, was credited with 23 aces, 10 in the final set, while McEnroe managed only three.
McEnroe said after the match that "the feeling of the match changed, and he was more in control. He got better and I got worse as the match went on."
Although this was only McEnroe's fourth tournament since his six-month sabbatical from tennis, he had beaten Annacone in straight sets in an exhibition tournament last week.
With the defeat, McEnroe dropped to at least 21 on the men's computerized listings, his lowest ever. Sixth-ranked Jimmy Connors is now the lone American man ranked in the top 10 in the world.
McEnroe easily took the opening set, with breaks in the fourth and sixth games, but he was unable to break again. Annacone, meantime, broke twice in each of the second and third sets and then gained the decisive break in the sixth game of the fourth set.
Earlier, Hana Mandlikova opened her defense of the women's title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Marie-Christine Calleja of France. The fourth seed from Czechoslovakia required only 55 minutes for the victory, breaking service five times.
Mandlikova achieved the initial break in the fourth game at love, and although Calleja broke back in the next game, Mandlikova followed with breaks in the sixth and eighth games.
"I really love to play in here," Mandlikova said of the National Tennis Center. "We were driving up and I saw the stadium and it was a great feeling to know I won it last year. I love the place.
"I was prepared before coming here that the planes were going to fly by. I was just waiting for when the planes were going to go so I'd just say hi. I really like it here and I'm mentally prepared to play well here."
Vilas Also Loses
Also bowing out was Argentine Guillermo Vilas, the 1977 Open champion, who lost to Australian Paul McNamee, 7-5, 5-7, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Henri Leconte, the eighth seed and a semifinalist both at the French and Wimbledon, defeated Martin Jaite of Argentina, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Other opening-round winners among the men were Robert Seguso, Barry Moir and Amos Mansdorf. Winning women included Kathy Horvath, Amanda Dingwall, Hu Na, Raffaella Reggi, Pascale Paradis, Tina Mochizuki, Csilla Bartos-Cserepy, Gretchen Rush and Peanut Harper.