Henman and Rusedski dispatched

TENNIS: Britain's leading singles players suffer a pre-Wimbledon setback in west London

The British challenge was terminated in the second round of the Stella Artois Championships here yesterday by the expertise and experience of two players who are best known in the company of others (and, no, Thomas Muster, the Duchess of York's friend, was not one of them).

Tim Henman was defeated by Andrei Olhovskiy, who partners Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the Russian Davis Cup team, and Greg Rusedski lost to Todd Woodbridge, who forms the world's No 1 doubles team with his Australian compatriot Mark Woodforde.

Both Britons, who are due to play in Nottingham next week, acknowledged that much work is required in the 12 days before the start of Wimbledon. Henman, beaten 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 by Olhovskiy, was particularly disappointed with his forehand returns. Rusedski, dispatched 6-1, 6-4 by Woodbridge, was concerned about the quality of the second shots he had to play after pounding down his serves.

Henman performed well until midway through the second set. The 21-year- old from Oxford saved three set points at 4-5 in the opening set, and gained the initiative in the tie-break by confidently returning a second serve down the line for 4-1: the very forehand shot which was to cost him later.

Although broken in the third game of the second set, Henman had two opportunities to recover to 3-3, only for the forehand to desert him. "My forehand return let me down a lot today," Henman said, "and when you can pinpoint something as precisely as that it gives you something to go away and work on.''

Olhovskiy may be ranked 49 places below Henman, at No 110, but he has the all-court skills to profit on any surface. He demonstrated that as a Wimbledon qualifier in 1992, eliminating Jim Courier, the No 1 seed, in the third round.

The Russian broke in the opening game of the final set and wore Henman down in the third. After saving four break points, the Briton double-faulted to offer a fifth, which Olhovskiy converted with a backhand down the line.

Henman briefly raised hope among his supporters on Court No 1 by breaking Olhovskiy with a splendid backhand lob when the Russian served for the match at 5-2, but lost his own serve in the next game.

There was less to enthuse about in Rusedski's case. Woodbridge presented him with the opportunity of a dream start by twice double-faulting en route to 0-40 in the opening game, but Rusedski was unable to convert any one of five break points. A sixth was presented in the fifth game, only to be whisked away by the Australian's volley. "It was one of those days you want to put behind you," Rusedski said.

Woodbridge, who, at 5ft 10in, is on the small side by modern tennis standards, has the ability to turn opponents' strengths against them. "I was lucky to get out of that first game," he admitted. "I just hung together, and from then on I returned well and nullified his weapon [Rusedski's serve]. Everything else in my game is better, and I think that showed.''

The Australian, who hopes to continue his penchant for frustrating the big servers by forcing them to play more shots than they find comfortable, appreciates that Rusedski and his ilk are perfectly capable of retaliating. "Unfortunately, on certain days you can't beat these guys,'' Woodbridge said. "They serve too big and take a swing at your serves and their returns go in.'' Apart from losing the match, Rusedski had some of his tennis clothing stolen from the locker-rooms.

Michael Stich, who lost to Kafelnikov in last Sunday's French Open final, defeated the American Michael Joyce, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, but was not impressed. "I'm still trying to work out in my mind how I lost in Paris," the German said.

Stefan Edberg advanced with a 7-6, 6-3, win against Australia's Sandon Stolle and Goran Ivanisevic scarcely paused for breath in dismissing the Czech Martin Damm, 6-2, 6-2, in only 41 minutes.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 24

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'