Tennis: Briton makes sharp start

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The Independent Online
GREG RUSEDSKI cruised into the second round of the Newsweek Champions Cup in Indian Wells, California, yesterday with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 1998 Australian Open champion, Petr Korda.

Rusedski, the British No 2 and 10th seed, a finalist at Battersea Park a week ago, showed a high level of consistency in his groundstrokes allied to his usual powerful serving and sharp volleying. A number of his serves exceeded 140mph and he went through the match without dropping his service despite being break point down six times. Having broken serve to lead 4-2 in the first set he achieved another break in the first game of the second set to set up victory.

Serena Williams, who won her first title last week in Paris, continued her winning ways on Sunday by upsetting the second-seeded Lindsay Davenport 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Evert Cup at the same venue. The 21st- ranked Williams believes she is on the move up the ranking ladder and is brimming with confidence.

"I definitely see myself in the top 10, but, right now, I'm not looking at that," Williams said. "I'm just trying to play every match to do the best I can."

Davenport is suffering with a respiratory infection. The Evert Cup champion in 1997, Davenport is taking a second course of antibiotics to clear congestion in her lungs.

The fifth-seeded Steffi Graf faced little resistance, beating Kvetoslava Hrdlikova, of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-2. The former world No1 announced that she will compete in next month's Hamburg tournament for the first time for five years. Graf won the event five successive times from 1987.

The American Jan-Michael Gambill defeated Australia's Lleyton Hewitt 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 on Sunday to win his first ATP Tour title, the Franklin Templeton Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona.