THE McEnroe family returned to haunt Boris Becker yesterday as the German world number three suffered a dramatic straight sets loss in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. A frustrated Becker crashed out 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 as an inspired Patrick McEnroe, brother of former Wimbledon and US Open champion John, took revenge for his defeat by the third seed in the 1991 semi-final at Flinders Park. Gabriela Sabatini and Goran Ivanisevic also fell at the first hurdle but the departure of Becker ranked among the biggest upsets in the tournament's recent history. Becker made 46 forehand errors in a match which lasted a little over two hours as his immediate plans of threatening Pete Sampras' world number one ranking were shattered. The three-times Wimbledon champion missed last year's Australian Open to attend the birth of his son Noah and was also beaten in the first round on his previous visit in 1993. But this year was supposed to be the one he re-emerged as a major force in the men's game, making McEnroe's achievement all the more remarkable. The younger McEnroe, now 28, won the first title of his career last Saturday when he beat Australian Richard Fromberg in the New South Wales Open final. Ranked 65th in the world, he has 14 doubles titles to his credit but before this month the highlight of his career was reaching the last four in Melbourne four years ago. On that occasion Becker won in four sets after dropping the first, but this time was unable to recover from a disastrous start. McEnroe romped away to a two-set lead and even when his opponent led 3-0 in the third there seemed little chance of an escape. Becker survived numerous break points, but from 5-2 his lead was gradually eroded and the final tiebreak finished 7-4 in McEnroe's favour. 'I played bad tennis,' admitted Becker. 'Thank God in the third set I began to serve a little better but I just played bad tennis. I thought I was in good shape, but I had no rhythm, especially on my forehand.' Sabatini had to have five minutes of on-court treatment for a back injury, but refused to use her discomfort as an excuse for her 6-4, 6-4 defeat to 47th-ranked American Marianne Werdel Witmeyer. Ivanisevic, playing his first tournament since his eight-week ban from the ATP tour for accumulated fines, was equally disappointing as he surrendered 6-1, 7-6, 6-3 to Germany's Carl-Uwe Steeb. 'I was just missing everything and I could not put the ball in the court. The way I played I did not deserve to win,' said the world number five, who may need surgery on his suspect knee later this year. Andre Agassi, making his first Australian Open appearance, and Todd Martin both advanced comfortably to the second round, joining Sampras, Michael Chang and Jim Courier who all won easily on Monday. The day's saddest loser, however, was China's Fang Li, reduced to tears during the closing moments of her 6-2, 6-0 thrashing by women's top seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.