Rusedski holds all the aces

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The Independent Online

Greg Rusedski, who has won his last two meetings against Andre Agassi after losing the first three, may have a chance to level the score if the two meet in the second round of the Mercedes Benz Cup being staged in Los Angeles.

The British No 2 claimed a 6-4, 7-6 win over Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand in just 77 minutes, smashing 14 aces past the 22-year-old from Bangkok, while Agassi was due to play James Blake in the first round last night.

The defending champion, Michael Chang, overcame a second set lapse of concentration to beat the Israeli qualifier Noam Behr, 6-2, 7-5, in the opening round. Chang broke serve twice to capture the opening set, but trailed 5-1 against the world's 207th ranked player before taking the final six games to secure victory when a Behr volley sailed long on the American's fourth match point.

In Kitzbühel, Austria, yesterday the top seed, Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, eased his way into the third round of the Generali Tournament when he knocked out the wild card entry, Alexander Peya of Austria, 6-2, 6-1. Ferrero, a favourite for the title, barely got out of first gear and needed just 45 minutes for his victory over Peya in the alpine ski resort. "I am in very good form and I like to play at higher altitudes," said Ferrero, who is aiming for his fifth title this season.

In the other second round matches, Galo Blanco of Spain recovered from losing a tiebreak in the first set to overcome the challenge of the Spaniard Fernando Vicente, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1, while the fourth seed, Franco Squillari of Argentina, defeated Fernando Meligeni of Brazil, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.