Tennis: Rusedski overwhelms his old friend

Greg Rusedski joined Tim Henman in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open last night. Rusedski defeated Karim Alami, of Morocco, in straight sets on a cool but calm evening. John Roberts reports from Doha.

They won the Wimbledon junior doubles title together seven years ago, but time has widened a gap in power between Greg Rusedski and Karim Alami. It was on the centre court at the Khalifah Tennis Complex here in 1994 that the Moroccan embarrassed an unprepared Pete Sampras in the first round of the Qatar Open, but Rusedski was too strong for his old friend last night.

The Canadian-born Briton, seeded No 1 in the absence of the injured Yevgeny Kafelnikov, secured his place in the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 7-5 victory and now plays the Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, ranked No 29 in the world, who beat Germany's Martin Sinner 6-3, 6-4.

Rusedski opened with an ace and then lost his serve, mis- hitting a forehand over the baseline and missing with a backhand volley. Alami produced a winning serve on the first point of the second game, only to lapse into errors under pressure from Rusedski's serves. The Briton was able to recover the break with a backhand drive.

From that point, Rusedski took control of the opening set. Although unable to convert either of two break points in the fourth game, finding the net with a forehand volley and a backhand drive, he punished Alami sorely in the sixth game, breaking to love.

Rusedski also won the next four points, the confidence of his shots unnerving Alami, who lost his serve again in the eighth game. The Moroccan double- faulted to present the set point at 30-40 and then underplayed a backhand drop shot, which floated into the net.

A set to the good after only 28 minutes, Rusedski lapsed in the opening game of the second set to allow his opponent a break point, created with a forehand drive down the line. Rusedski erased it with a smash.

Alami had treatment to a leg injury during the changeover at 4-3, but continued to match Rusedski point for point until the 12th game. The Moroccan seemed perplexed when the umpire called 30-30, querying whether he meant 40-15. But his shot was clearly long. Rusedski then reached match point with a backhand down the line, the net cord helping another backhand secure his place in the last eight.

Goran Ivanisevic's running feud with the Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, may reach a new pitch - a football pitch. The reason why Ivanisevic is so keen to turn out for his home-town team, Hajduk Split, against Croatia Zagreb next month goes deeper than a boyhood dream. Tudjman is the Zagreb club's patron.

Tudjman's sporting interests also extend to tennis, and he has expressed opposition to the ATP Tour event in Zagreb being moved to Split. The row led to Ivanisevic's refusal to play in Croatia's Davis Cup tie against Finland. He plans to play in the Dubai Open the same week and, if he loses before the semi-finals on 14 February, to turn out for the last 10 minutes for Hajduk Split.

If Ivanisevic inspires as much emotion on the football pitch as he does on the tennis court, there could be a few sore heads. Such was the tension generated by his epic second-round victory on Wednesday over Switzerland's Marc Rosset, who lost after double-faulting four times when serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, that a linesman had to run for cover.

A middle-aged Swiss spectator decided to take his frustration out on the judge by attacking him with a flag. "No action will be taken," the tournament director, Ayman Azmy, said. "It's not such a big deal. The guy was carrying a Swiss flag and was a little bit upset with a call. It was funny a little bit. He was looking for Marc Rosset to win, but nobody can do everything.

"What happened was outside the court and nothing to do with the play. If the guy likes to sue him, he can sue him. It's not a big issue. It has never happened to us here before." Where Ivanisevic is concerned, there is a first time for everything.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
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
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
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