Fine return for Rusedski

Greg Rusedski finally had his day on court here yesterday, putting his recent drugs controversy behind him and helping Tim Henman steer Britain towards the Davis Cup World Group qualifying round.

Greg Rusedski finally had his day on court here yesterday, putting his recent drugs controversy behind him and helping Tim Henman steer Britain towards the Davis Cup World Group qualifying round.

Victory against Luxembourg in the doubles after Arvind Parmar's disappointing loss in the opening match on Friday, means that Henman can clinch the tie if he defeats Gilles Muller, the Luxembourg No 1, in the first of this afternoon's reverse singles.

In taking their unbeaten run in Davis Cup doubles to eight matches, Henman and Rusedski had to save only one break point before defeating Muller and Mike Scheidweiler, 6-4 7-6 6-3, after an hour and 54 minutes.

"I didn't feel nervous, I felt more emotional coming back after such a long time," said Rusedski, who had not played since losing to Albert Costa of Spain in the first round at the Australian Open in January.

"I haven't enjoyed a tennis match as much as I did today since I won the title at Nottingham [last June]."

Rusedski added that he was fit and ready to play in today's fifth and concluding rubber if Jeremy Bates, the captain, needed him. Bates took the gamble of playing Parmar instead of Rusedski on Friday in order to save the British No 2 from the possibility of having to play three matches in three days, and also to give Parmar a chance to redeem himself for his collapse in the final rubber against Ecuador at Wimbledon in 2000.

"We had tough decisions to make, and made them," said Bates, who is captaining the team for the first time. "It's not easy sitting at the side of the court."

The National Tennis Centre here is reminiscent of any sports centre in any town in Britain, and there was room for fewer than 900 spectators around a compact court with lob-defying hanging beams. Henman and Rusedski served and volleyed in fine style, and when the occasion to lob - or return one that did not hit the ceiling - Henman was the man for the job.

One break of serve was enough to win the opening set, Rusedski cracking Muller with a forehand volley after 32 minutes. Henman and Rusedski dropped only two points each on serve.

Although the second set was tighter, the British pair did not look in danger of losing their serve until Rusedski was taken to deuce at 5-6. He extricated himself by hitting two unreturnable deliveries.

There were some uncomfortable moments from Britain in the tie-break, Rusedski directing a high forehand over the baseline at 3-2 to cancel a mini-break won by Henman. Rusedski's service winner for 4-3 restored calm, and Henman outwitted Scheidweiler with a lob for 5-4, only to be hauled back to 5-5.

A Henman smash brought the first set point at 6-5, only for Rusedski to hit a return long. Rusedski redeemed himslef by serving away a set point for Luxembourg and then beat Scheidweiler with a forehand return on Britain's second set point for 9-7.

In the third set, Scheidweiler double-faulted to gift Britain a 2-0 lead and had to save two break points on his next serve, at 1-4. Rusedski, who had served confidently to this point, double-faulted at 30-30 in the seventh game, but Muller squandered the opportunity with a tame return and Henman served the match out with a service winner on the second match-point.

"We felt very confident coming into the match," Henman said, "and our serving was the key. We were very professional in our attitude and only faced one break point. The first and second sets were were pretty straightforward."

Rusedski, who had every reason to look pleased with his afternoon's work, said: "I think I'm more relaxed out there, enjoying it, having fun. It's good to be out there again playing competitive tennis."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice