Rafter all at sea after relinquishing his title

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The Independent Online
Patrick Rafter lost his title in the second round of the Nottingham Open yesterday and now has to come to terms with the prospect of rebuilding his faltering career at the age of just 22.

The Australian tipped as the new Pat Cash has fallen to 60th in the world after occupying a top 20 place less than a year ago. Yesterday he was beaten 6-2, 7-6 by Argentina's Javier Frana and admitted: "I've lost a lot of confidence in my game. Maybe it is true everything came too quickly for me. Maybe I didn't handle it well and it has started taking its toll in the last few months. I'm hoping Wimbledon next week will get me going again." He struggled to control his temper against Frana and was warned for racket abuse.

Rafter, now based in Bermuda although he spends much of his time in London, has defeated Pete Sampras and Thomas Muster during his career.

Tim Henman, Britain's latest young hope, received a walkover into the quarter-finals when the Czech, Martin Damm, scratched from the tournament with an injured shoulder. Henman takes on the world No 45, Todd Woodbridge.

Seven of the original eight seeds started yesterday's second round, but the Chilean No 8 seed, Marcelo Rios, went out tamely in two sets to the American, Tommy Ho, whose compatriot, MaliVai Washington, suffered a surprise 6-2, 7-6 defeat by Japan's Shuzo Matsuoka.

Sweden's Thomas Enqvist fell prey to the experienced Zimbabwean, Byron Black, who outlasted the 21-year-old from Stockholm in a 10-8 tie-break after they were tied at one set all.