TENNIS; Britain serves up double delight

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TIM HENMAN and Greg Rusedski steered Britain to a 2-1 win over holders Germany in their first round-robin match at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf yesterday.

The British pair beat Boris Becker and David Prinosil 7-5, 6-2 in the decisive doubles at the end of an eventful first day in the final warm- up to the French Open, starting on May 24.

Rusedski had earlier demonstrated his powerful game could be efficient on clay by crushing Nicolas Kiefer 6-1, 6-4. Henman then wasted three match points on his way to a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 defeat by Tommy Haas.

World number 11 Rusedski, making his first appearance in Duesseldorf, needed just 69 minutes to down local favourite Kiefer. "I played well on a surface I'm considered not to be very good on, and that's very satisfying." said Rusedski, who relied on his trademark serve and volley game and made very few unforced errors. "I haven't had a day off for the last three weeks." he added. "I've been training on clay every day, and it's starting to pay off."

World No 8 Henman earned his match points in the tie-break of the second set. He netted in the first two before Haas fired a superb forehand winner on the third.

Cheered on by around 5,000 noisy fans on a cloudy day, Haas broke Henman to go 5-3 up in the final set. He then served for the match, sealing victory with an unforced error from Henman."I felt it was a pretty good match and a confirmation that I'm in good form," Henman said.

The United States beat France 2-1 in the day's other tie but lost Andre Agassi with a shoulder injury. He could miss the French Open.