Britain'snew No 1 unveiled

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The Independent Online
TENNIS

Greg Rusedski will make his debut on home soil as a British player at the Beckenham Open on Sunday, although he is not competing in the tournament.

The Montreal-born Rusedski, 21, has agreed to meet the former Wimbledon champion, Stefan Edberg, in a special exhibition match in between the men's singles and doubles finals.

It will give home fans a chance to see their new No1 with the 137mph service for the first time in England since he opted last month to represent Britain.

His presence - albeit in an exhibition - will lend extra kudos to an event with no sponsorship and few big names this year. Tonsilitis kept the world No 47 Rusedski out of the French Open but after recovering he declined an invitation to compete in the Beckenham tournament.

Six seeded players fell on the first day and yesterday the American Pam Shriver, who will be 33 next month, joined the casualties when she was beaten by an Australian schoolgirl only a couple of months past her 17th birthday.

Siobhan Drake-Brockman, sponsored by hamburger chain McDonalds, made easy meat of Shriver to pull off the greatest win of her brief career by 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.

Ilkley's Gary Henderson won a three-setter against the South African qualifier, Marius Barnard, to earn a second round meeting with Andrew Richardson which guarantees further British representation in the last eight; Jeremy Bates and Andrew Foster are already there.

There was further evidence of the decline in the British women's game, however, when Hove's Julie Pullin and Exeter's Karen Cross, the last home survivors, were beaten decisively.

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