NEW YORK -- The wait for Michael Chang wasn't merely five hours yesterday. It wasn't merely waiting out a rain delay at the National Tennis Center for his third-round U.S. Open match with Bernd Karbacher to finally begin last night.
The wait for Chang was much longer: three months. It took that long for the world's seventh-ranked player to get another shot at Karbacher, a 25-year-old German whose claim to fame was beating Chang in all three matches they had played.
"I made a few adjustments," said Chang, who had lost to the 40th-ranked Karbacher once last year and then at successive tournaments this year, including in the second round of the French Open. "He really kind of dominated me in the French. But what helped me was that this surface is more to my liking."
So was the result. After losing the first set and facing a crucial break point at 4-4 in the second, Chang stormed back to beat Karbacher, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
The victory by the seventh-seeded Chang came on the same Grandstand Court that already had claimed two-time Open defending champion Stefan Edberg Thursday and 11th seed Goran Ivanisevic Friday.
"It's a very big deal," Chang, 21, said of his victory. "I thought I was fortunate to squeak out of the second set. He had a couple of break points and would have served for the set."
L Said Karbacher: "If I won the set, it would have been over."
Instead Chang held serve and then broke Karbacher at love to close out the set. And instead of being the eighth men's seed to fall in what has been a wacky first week, Chang showed why he is considered one of the mentally toughest competitors in the game.
After being dominated by Karbacher's power game early, Chang got a handle on his opponent's serve and then turned the tables, putting pressure on Karbacher with a few aces and service winners himself.
"The thing about Bernd is that you can't be content just hitting it back, because he will put those short balls away," said Chang, who admitted taking a short nap while waiting for the rain to stop. "He kind of goes for broke all the time."
Karbacher -- who was dubbed Karbasher by the British tabloids at Wimbledon this year -- came up empty. Leading 5-4 and serving for the match, Chang seemed so determined that he never gave Karbacher a chance to get a good return. When his final serve was returned into the net, Chang was visibly charged.
Asked if had thought much about Karbacher's string of success against him, Chang said his habit is to focus on the future rather than the past. But he later admitted, "I have lost to him three times, I didn't want to give him anymore."
Said Karbacher: "I don't think that is necessary in a Grand Slam tournament to have extra motivation for a player like he is. If he is not reaching the semifinals or the quarters, it's a disappointment. But I think he took me serious."
Chang, who reached the semifinals here last year, advanced into the fourth round of the Open for the fifth time in six years. More importantly, it marks the longest Chang has stayed in a Grand Slam tournament this year, having been eliminated in the second round of the Australian and the third round of Wimbledon.
"I always strive ahead," said Chang. "A lot of times if you look at things that happened in the past, you get into negative thinking. I just press on, do my best to run for the prize."
Clearly, Pete Sampras is running toward the prize. In this case, that's a second Open championship in his career and a second Grand Slam title this year. The defending Wimbledon champion and the tournament's No. 2 seed rolled ahead last night with an easy 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Arnaud Boetsch of France.
"I played him twice before and I beat him both times, but I think he made a lot of improvement in his game," Sampras said of Boetsch, now ranked 25th.
NOTES: Among the other men's seeds who got their matches in after the rain ended, No. 15 Wayne Ferreira of South Africa came from behind to beat Marc Goellner of Germany, 6-4, 6-7 (7-1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, while No. 12 Thomas Muster of Austria had little trouble disposing of Patrick McEnroe, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Among the women, ** No. 16 seed Zina Garrison-Jackson lost to Natalia Zvereva of Belarus, 6-4, 6-3.
Men's singles, third round
Thomas Enqvist, Sweden, def. Byron Black, Zimbabwe, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. Thomas Muster (12), Austria, def. Patrick McEnroe, Cove Neck, N.Y., 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, def. Marc Goellner, Germany, 6-4, 6-7 (7-1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Alexander Volkov (14), Russia, def. Amos Mansdorf, Israel, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2. Michael Chang (7), Henderson, Nev., def. Bernd Karbacher, Germany, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Pete Sampras (2), Tampa, Fla., def. Arnaud Boetsch, France, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Chuck Adams, Pacific Palisades, Calif., def. Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, 7-5, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.
Doubles, second round
Ken Flach, Alpharetta, Ga., and Rick Leach, Laguna Beach, Calif. (12), def. Marius Barnard, South Africa, and Tom Mercer, Pittsburgh, 7-5, 6-1. Kelly Jones, Escondido, Calif., and Jorge Lozano, Mexico, def. Mark Kratzmann and Wally Masur, Australia (5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
Women's singles, third round
Katerina Maleeva, Bulgaria, def. Gigi Fernandez, Aspen, Colo., 6-1, 6-1. Magdalena Maleeva, Bulgaria, def. Kimberly Po, Rolling Hills, Calif., 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Natalia Zvereva, Belarus, def. Zina Garrison-Jackson, Houston, 6-4, 6-3. Maria Jose Gaidano, Argentina, def. Jenny Byrne, Australia, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles, second round
Patty Fendick, Sacramento, Calif., and Meredith McGrath, Midland, Mich. (11), def. Radka Bobkova and Petra Langrova, Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-1. Lori McNeil, Houston, and Rennae Stubbs, Australia (4), def. Kimiko Date, Japan, and Radka Zrubakova, Slovakia, 6-1, 6-4. Amanda Coetzer, South Africa, and Ines Gorrochategui, Argentina (9), def. Jo Durie, Britain, and Ginger Helgeson, Alpine, Calif., 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1). Michelle Jaggard-Lai, Australia, and Rene Simpson-Alter, Canada, def. Eugenia Maniokova, Russia, and Leila Meskhi, Georgia (13), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Mixed doubles, first round
Kathy Rinald, Amelia Island, Fla., and Patrick Galbraith, Tacoma, Wash. (5), def. Natalia Medvedeva, Ukraine, and Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands, 6-2, 6-2. Brenda Schultz, Netherlands, and Murphy Jensen, Norcross, Ga., def. Gigi Fernandez, Aspen, Colo., and Scott Davis, Newport Beach, Calif., 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Robin White, Del Mar, Calif., and Grant Connell, Canada, def. Elna Reinach and Danie Visser, South Africa, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. Manon Bollegraf and Tom Nijssen, Netherlands (8), def. Larisa Neiland, Latvia, and Andrei Olhovskiy, Russia, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
All courts begin at 11 a.m. Night sessions begin at 7:30 p.m.:
Barbara Rittner, Germany, vs. Martina Navratilova (3), Aspen, Colo. Boris Becker (4), Germany, vs. Sergio Cortes, Chile. Mats Wilander, Sweden, vs. Cedric Pioline (15), France.
Steffi Graf (1), Germany, vs. Mary Pierce (13), France. Jim Courier (1), Dade City, Fla., vs. MaliVai Washington, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Chanda Rubin, Lafayette, La., vs. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (2), Spain. Richard Krajicek (10), Netherlands, vs. Todd Martin, Lansing, Mich. Conchita Martinez (4), Spain, vs. Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere (11), Switzerland. Lindsay Davenport, Murrieta, Calif., vs. Gabriela Sabatini (5), Argentina.
Diego Nargiso, Italy, and Javier Sanchez, Spain, vs. Merklein-BlairMcEnroe-Reneberg winner.