Comeback delight for Rusedski

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The Independent Online

Greg Rusedski could not hide his delight after completing a winning return to action in the first round of the Australian men's Hardcourt Championship in Adelaide yesterday.

The British No 2 was leading Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-1 before rain stopped play on Tuesday and yesterday he wasted little time in wrapping up a 6-4, 6-2 success.

Rusedski had been on the sidelines since losing both his singles matches in last September's Davis Cup defeat in Morocco. The 30-year-old injured his back in that tie to cap a disastrous 2003, which also saw him suffer foot and knee problems.

"I was pleased with the way it went," Rusedski said. "I enjoyed being out there. I've come out to Australia early to prepare for the Australian Open in Melbourne and every match I play I will get better and more confident. I just want to enjoy my tennis, have fun and do my best. There are some advantages to being older, too. The mind knows what to do, even if the body doesn't always follow."

Rusedski will face the unseeded Cyril Saulnier, of France, who ousted the American fourth seed, Robby Ginepri, 6-3, 6-4. The event's top seed, Wayne Ferreira, was thrashed 6-0, 6-1, by the local teenager Todd Reid.

In the second round, Arnaud Clement, seeded third, lost 6-4, 6-3 to Sweden's Thomas Johansson and the eighth seed, Nicolas Lapentti, of Ecuador, was beaten 6-1, 6-3 by France's Michael Llodra.

On the Gold Coast, the Russian Nadia Petrova overcame dehydration to beat Australia's Nicole Pratt, 6-2, 6-2, in a second-round match at the Australian women's hardcourt championships. Petrova will meet the 17-year-old Russian Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals. Safina, the younger sister of Marat Safin, beat the No 5 seed Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-3, 6-4. Another young Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova, reached the quarter-finals by upsetting the third seed, Vera Zvonareva, also of Russia, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.