Tennis: Rusedski puts paid to Damm challenge

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The Independent Online
Greg Rusedski marched into the semi-finals of the Croatian Indoor Tournament in Split yesterday with a straight-sets win over the Czech, Martin Damm.

The top-seeded British No 1 triumphed 6-1, 6-4 in 55 minutes, dropping only seven points in nine service games, five of which were double-faults. He served 15 aces, making a total of 50 in his three matches this week, to which Damm, ranked 64 in the world, had no answer.

The two men had met four times in the past, with Rusedski winning three of those contests. On his present form there seems little to stop his progress, but he will face stiffer opposition in the last four today, when he meets Marc Rosset, the 1992 Swiss Olympic champion who is ranked 30th.

Rusedski, broke Damm's service twice in the first set, in the second and sixth games, and once in the second, in the third game. Damm's normally reliable first serve faltered in the opening set, allowing Rusedski to dominate. The 25-year-old Czech served better in the second set, but lost his service long before Rusedski signed off with a 15th ace.

Steffi Graf is due to play in the Open Gaz De France event in Paris next week, the former Wimbledon champion's first tournament since knee surgery after losing in the quarter-finals of the French Open in June last year.