After defeating the Italian Gianluca Pozzi 6-3, 6-4 in 58 minutes, Rusedski, who has dropped from sixth to eighth in the world rankings, said: "The court here is a bit quicker than in Zagreb where the tournament was held last year but that will suit my game and gives my serve that little extra zip."
Certainly Rusedski, despite five double-faults, served with great zest and allowed Pozzi, a 32-year-old fellow left hander, only one break point in the match. Pozzi, the oldest man in the tournament, was meeting the 24-year-old Rusedski for the first time and could make little of his opponent's first or second service which he repeatedly returned into the net when he could get his racket to the ball.
Rusedski, in contrast, broke Pozzi in the sixth game of the first set for a 4-2 lead, taking it 6-3 in 26 minutes. Then, after missing four break points in the third game of the second set, Rusedski broke through again in the seventh game to go up 4-3. Rusedski then held his next two service games for victory, winning the final game with a flourish, hitting two service winners and two aces to give Pozzi no chance of recovery.
Rusedski, who reached the final of this event last year, will now meet Jan Kroslak, of Slovakia, in the second round. They have only met once before when Rusedski beat his opponent 6-3, 7-6 in the second round of the Japan Open in Tokyo in 1995.