Tennis: Rusedski pays for missed chances

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The Independent Online
GREG RUSEDSKI was beaten by Bernd Karbacher in the first round of the Qatar Open in Doha last night. Rusedski, seeded No 2 behind Tim Henman, paid for his failure to convert two match points in the second set, losing 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

The left-handed British No 2 missed the crucial points from a position of 5-4 and 40-15 up in the second set against an opponent ranked well below him at 117 in the world.

Petr Korda has threatened to retire after losing to Morocco's Karim Alami in the opening round. Alami came through a tense three-hour battle 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 to upset his fifth-seeded opponent and afterwards Korda, the Australian Open champion and Qatar title-holder, said retirement was on his mind.

"I think the time has come for me to retire," said the 30-year-old Czech, in the headlines last month for testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone at Wimbledon last year.

Korda added he was shocked and demoralised by the defeat, having arrived in Doha determined to put the drugs scandal firmly behind him after initial thoughts of quitting.

In another surprise last night, Germany's Rainer Schuttler knocked out the experienced Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev in a third-set tiebreak.

In Adelaide, the twice US Open champion, Pat Rafter, yesterday survived some early rustiness to make a successful return in his first match back after a two-month injury lay-off. Rafter, currently the world No 4, beat Japan's Takao Suzuki 6-3, 6-0 to reach the second round of the Australian men's hardcourt championships. "I didn't really start picking up a racket until after Christmas so my preparation hasn't been the most ideal coming into this tournament, but hopefully it will be for the Australian Open," he said.

Among those joining Rafter and Chang in the second round was the fifth- seeded Byron Black of Zimbabwe, who beat Vince Spadea 1-6, 7-6, 6-2. But the former world No 1, Jim Courier, made an early exit, beaten 7-5, 6- 3 by Slava Dosedel of the Czech Republic.

In the Australian women's hardcourt championships on Queensland's Gold Coast, the No 3 seed, Irina Spirlea of Romania, overcame some early troubles to beat the Australian Rachel McQuillan, 7-6, 6-3. In another match, Australia's Annabel Ellwood took the first set against Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France. But after being down from an early break in the second set, Sidot fought back to record a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. Sidot will next play the German Anke Huber, who defeated South Africa's Mariaan de Swardt, 6-3, 6-2. Israel's Anna Smashnova beat Latvia's Larissa Neiland 6-0, 6-3.

Results, Digest, page 23