Rusedski finds mental power in US build-up

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The Independent Online

Greg Rusedski produced a brave display to edge past Thomas Johansson in three sets in the first round of the RCA Championship in Indianapolis on Monday.

Greg Rusedski produced a brave display to edge past Thomas Johansson in three sets in the first round of the RCA Championship in Indianapolis on Monday.

Rusedski, who won the tournament in 2002, recorded a 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 victory over the Swede, who had won six of the last nine meetings with the British left-hander.

Johansson, the 2002 Australian Open champion and a wildcard entry at Indianapolis, had beaten Rusedski in their last match in Nottingham last month. But Rusedski showed mental strength to outlast Johansson and advance to the second round of the US Open hardcourt warm-up event.

Earlier this month, Rusedski won the Hall of Fame Championship in Newport, his first title since being cleared of doping charges in March. The Montreal-born left-hander was pushed all the way by his Swedish opponent before a single break in the deciding set was enough to earn victory.

Rusedski, ranked 98th in the world, said: "I'm starting to get mentally tougher, more match tough, than I was at the beginning of the year. I don't mind losing a tie-breaker if I can come through a match like that.

"It's been frustrating, but I'm glad I stuck it out. I want to be remembered for playing good tennis especially after all the turmoil I've been going through the past two years."

Rusedski's run of 10 consecutive tie-break set victories, which started in the second round at Wimbledon, ended in the second set, with a 7-3 defeat. But after winning the opening set tie-breaker 7-5 with an ace, he broke Johansson's serve in the final game of the third set to take the match. Rusedski will now play another Swede, Joachim Johansson.

Elsewhere, the American wildcard Rajeev Ram edged out South Africa's Wesley Moodie 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 and Jeff Salzenstein, of the United States, beat France's Thierry Ascione 7-5, 7-6.

The top 16 seeds all received byes into the second round, including the defending champion Andy Roddick.

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