Arthurs able to advance in slick style

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The Independent Online

Wayne Arthurs, the big-hitting Australian with a serve tailor-made for grass, continued his preparations for Wimbledon yesterday by progressing to the second round of the Samsung Open here.

The powerful left-hander, who took Tim Henman to three tie-breaks in the quarter-finals of the Stella Artois Championship at Queen's Club last week and is always dangerous on the game's fastest surface, overcame Sargis Sargsian, of Armenia, in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Arthurs, ranked No 48 on the ATP's tournament entry list, had his first chance to take the match when the score stood at 5-4 in the third set but could not capitalise on three match points. After going 0-40 down on his own serve, Sargsian threw his racket to the ground in disgust and received a code violation warning but still recovered to hold.

Arthurs then held his own serve for 6-5 and in the next game produced a deft drop volley to break and take the match. He now faces the No 8 seed, Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, in the second round. Bjorkman progressed after a 7-5, 7-5 win over Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia.

On a bad day for seeded players, three saw their participation in the event ended. David Prinosil, of Germany, seeded No 4, lost to Byron Black, of Zimbabwe, 6-3, 6-1, while Alberto Martin, of Spain, seeded No 6, went out at the hands of Michel Kratochvil, of Switzerland, 6-0, 6-4. Fabrice Santoro, the No 5 seed, withdrew due to illness. The Frenchman's place in the first round has been taken by the British No 3, Martin Lee, who enters the competition as a lucky loser. Lee faces his compatriot Lee Childs today.

The only Briton in action yesterday was Barry Cowan, who lost in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to the highly rated Russian teenager Mikhail Youzhny. The latter cemented his credentials last week by beating the latest American prodigy, Andy Roddick, at Queen's Club. Roddick, recently dubbed "the future of American tennis" by Pete Sampras, faces Marc Rosset, of Switzerland, today.

Greg Rusedski, the British No 2 and the Nottingham champion in 1997, opens his campaign ­ the last chance for match practice before Wimbledon ­ against the No1 seed, Jan-Michael Gambill of the United States. The pair have met on one previous occasion, at the same event, in 1999. Rusedski won in three sets then but Gambill has made considerable progress since and is now up to 15th in the ATP tournament entry list. Rusedski stands at No 46.

The other Britons scheduled to play today are Arvind Parmar, who meets a fellow qualifier, Jonathan Stark, of America, and Jamie Delgado, who meets Stark's compatriot Jeff Tarango.

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