Tennis: Rusedski breeze as big guns fall

ON A day when both the world No 1, Pete Sampras, and world No 2, Pat Rafter, were beaten, Greg Rusedski breezed past the German Axel Pretzsch yesterday to join Tim Henman in the second round of the Swiss Indoor Championships in Basle. Rusedski, the world No 14 and seventh seed, defeated Pretzsch 6-2, 6-2 and now plays another German qualifier, David Prinosil.

Rusedski needed only 52 minutes to beat Pretzsch, and in one game produced three consecutive aces. "I was really pleased with the way I played," said Rusedski. "Everything is coming together nicely.

"I like it here. I have a record of nine wins and only one loss. It's one of the most spectacular draws there's been here in a long time with Sampras, Agassi and Rafter."

That proved to be a little ironic given that Sampras and Rafter were then beaten within hours of each other.

Sampras, in action for the first time since last month's US Open, showed signs of not yet being match tight, losing a tense 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 battle with South Africa's Wayne Ferreira.

"I just like the way he plays," Ferreira said. "He serves well but I made him play more returns and when you make him do that he tends to go after more."

Rafter, also playing his first tournament since successfully defending his US Open title, was brushed aside 7-6, 7-5 by the Czech Republic's Daniel Vacek, ranked 44 in the world.

The first round of the $1m (pounds 600,000) Swiss tournament has proved a graveyard for this year's Grand Slam winners with Rafter, Sampras and the Australian Open champion, Petr Korda, who lost to the German Nicolas Kiefer on Tuesday, all making early exits.

Sampras's departure ranks as the most surprising, however, the American having arrived in Switzerland well rested and determined to solidify his position on top of the world rankings.

But Sampras admitted after the match that the loss has seriously dented his attempt to become the first player to finish as world No 1 for six consecutive years.

"The loss doesn't help... all I can do now is go home and try and regroup," said Sampras, who has won more indoor titles than any other player with the exception of Boris Becker.

Henman, the sixth seed, beat Australian Jason Stoltenberg in three sets in his opening match on Tuesday and now faces the Moroccan Hicham Arazi.

David Lloyd, Britain's Davis Cup captain, is astounded that his team are not among the eight seeded nations in the World Group of the Davis Cup next year.

The draw for the first round is to be made in London today, and though Britain have Henman and Rusedski in the world's top 14, they have been ignored for a seeding place.

"Not to seed us is the most incredible decision I have ever heard," Lloyd said. "It puts us in a very serious position because it means we have to be drawn against one of the seeds. We could play Spain away and we could be the two best nat-ions in the competition."

Steffi Graf, who underwent surgery on a hand three weeks ago, is to return at next month's WTA Philadelphia tournament.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference