Tennis: Rusedski raises pace to bypass Peppas

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The Independent Online
GREG RUSEDSKI continued his comeback from a toe injury by beating Solon Peppas of Greece 6-3, 6-3 in the US Pro Tennis Championships in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Two years ago, the British No 2 reached the quarter-finals in Brookline before reaching the final of the US Open. He is the No 9 seed for the final Grand Slam of the year, which starts in Flushing Meadows, New York, on Monday.

Rusedski broke Peppas's serve twice in each set. "I tried to keep the rally short. I needed a quick match," he said. "I want to play all I can this week to get ready for the US Open."

Rusedski now faces Jonas Bjorkman, the Swedish player, who beat Cecil Mamiit of the United States 6-0, 6-7, 7-6 in the quarter-final.

Venus Williams beat Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo of Spain 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarter-final of the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Connecticut. The American was always too strong for her Spanish opponent ,who needed two medical time-outs for blisters on both feet.

Jana Novotna, of the Czech Republic, was beaten by Ruxandra Dragomir of Romania 7-6, 6-0. Novotna has played few matches since spraining her right ankle at the French Open, and attributed the loss to lack of match play, limited movement and a poor variety of shots. "I haven't been playing well for a number of weeks now, and it's disappointing," she said.

The Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo beat her sixth-seeded compatriot Julie Halard-Decugis 6-1, 6-2 and now faces Lindsay Davenport, of the United States, in a rematch of their Australian Open Open semi-final, which Mauresmo won in three tight sets.

Monica Seles of the United States beat Elena Likhovtseva 6-0, 7-6. The first set was over in 12 minutes, but Seles was made to fight in the second.

Seles, who has been without a permanent coach since her father, Karolj, died last year, has now turned to former professional, Jimmy Arias. "As a player he knows so much about the game. He also knows how my dad worked," she said.