Henman impresses in demolishing El Aynaoui

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman cruised into the second round of the Masters Series event here with a ruthless 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Younes El Aynaoui.

Tim Henman cruised into the second round of the Masters Series event here with a ruthless 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Younes El Aynaoui.

Henman was impressive as he brushed aside the Moroccan, who was playing his first match after seven months out with injury, in just 50 minutes.

The fifth seed joined Greg Rusedski in the last 32 where he will face either the American Vince Spadea or another Moroccan, Hicham Arazi.

Henman acknowledged El Aynaoui was clearly nowhere near his best, saying: "He has obviously been struggling. He has not played for a long, long time but you just have to take care of whatever speed or level your opponent is playing.

"It doesn't often happen you get such an easy match but you take it when it comes along."

Rusedski hit out at his critics after winning his first-round match on Monday. The British No 2 defeated the 2000 champion, Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, and now faces the French Open champion, Gaston Gaudio of Argentina. The victory continued his comeback after being cleared in March following a positive drug test for the steroid nandrolone.

Rusedski said: "I think I have something to prove. A lot of people had written me off and I think I have answered them pretty well in the last three or four weeks."

Since winning the Hall of Fame title in Newport, Rhode Island, in July, Rusedski has risen from outside the world top 100 to No 88, winning a place at the US Open, which starts on 30 August. He was a finalist there in 1997.

Earlier, two other former champions, Carlos Moya, the 2003 winner, and Andre Agassi, a winner in 1995 and 1996, survived first-round scares.

Moya was a set down and a break of serve down at 2-3 in the second set against another British qualifier, Arvind Parmar, before winning 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Agassi was within a few points of defeat in the second-set tie-break against Mardy Fish, before winning 4-6, 7-6, 4-1 when his fellow American pulled out with a bad back.

The world No 1 Roger Federer has already won his place at the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston, the earliest qualification for the year-end championships since the ATP was founded in 1990. Last weekend in Toronto, he became the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1979 to win consecutive tournament titles on grass, clay and hard courts with victories at Wimbledon, Gstaad and the Canadian city. Federer has won eight titles this year, including two Grand Slam victories - the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

* The women's world No 1, Justine Henin-Hardenne will compete at this month's Olympic Games, she said yesterday. Henin-Hardenne has not played since the French Open in May, having suffered a viral infection.

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