Tennis: Ivanisevic avoids further ignominy

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The Independent Online
Three men's seeds fell in the first round of the US Open at New York, but the biggest surprise of of the Grand Slam's second day was that Goran Ivanisevic was not one of them.

The fourth-seeded Croat beat the Russian Andrei Chesnokov 1-6, 6-2, 6- 4, 6-4 under the lights on a balmy night to end a four-year run of New York misery.

Since reaching the fourth round in 1991 the talented Croat, twice a Wimbledon runner-up, had been on a steady and stunning downward spiral at Flushing Meadow. A third-round loss in 1992 was followed by a second-round defeat in 1993 and then two first-round defeats in 1994 and 1995.

This year, Ivanisevic fought back from losing the first set 6-1 to avoid joining the 14th-seeded Spaniard, Alberto Costa, the 15th- seeded Marc Rosset of Switzerland, and Richard Krajicek, the fifth-seeded Dutch Wimbledon champion, on the sidelines.

Costa, fell to the Czech Bohdan Ulihrach in five sets, Rosset was defeated by the American Jared Palmer in four and Krajicek was the victim of an unlucky draw and an off day, losing to Stefan Edberg in straight sets. The Swede, champion in 1991 and 1992, is playing in his final Grand Slam.

While Tim Henman produced a thoroughly workmanlike performance in difficult conditions, his fellow Briton Greg Rusedski's miserable run in this event continued when he crashed out at the first hurdle.

Henman, 21, won 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 against the 25-year-old Brazilian Roberto Jabali, a "lucky loser'' who had replaced the injured Mats Wilander. Henman now plays the American Doug Flach, who caused the surprise of this year's Wimbledon when he beat Andre Agassi

Rusedski, who has yet to win a match at Flushing Meadow in three attempts, slumped 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to Germany's Hendrik Dreekmann. Rusedski had the worst possible start, dropping his opening service game and serving five double-faults in the first two.

In addition, his slice backhand - normally a safety shot - hardly functioned at all, and he was two sets down before he got a break point, which he was unable to convert.

"Hendrik played very well. You can't give a player like him the start I gave him. I don't think I could have done anything different with the first two sets, but I just wasn't playing well enough to take my chances," Rusedski said.

Monica Seles, the second seed and joint women's world No 1, reached the third round without hitting a ball. The 1991 and 1992 champion, who dropped only one game in her opening match, was scheduled to play Laurence Courtois of Belgium, but tournament officials announced about four and a half hours before the match that Courtois had pulled out because of a left knee bone inflammation, putting Seles into the next round on a walkover.

Also through is Gabriela Sabatini, the 1990 champion from Argentina, who beat Ann Grossman of the United States 6-2, 6-3.