Rusedski makes rueful exit on return to Canada

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The Independent Online

Greg Rusedski, the Quebec native who left Canada six years ago to play for Britain, made a quick exit from the Montreal Masters on Monday.

Rusedski, booed off court the last time he played in the event in 1995, lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to the 14th-seeded Carlos Moya, of Spain, in the first round.

"I think people just moved on," said Rusedski, who drew some cheers as he battled back after dropping the opening set. "It's been six years. Time heals things. I just tried to play good tennis and they got an entertaining match, so it was positive."

The defending champion, Marat Safin of Russia, seeded second, retired in the second set of his match against Nicolas Escude, of France, because of a knee injury. Safin, who was losing 6-4, 5-2, was jeered by the crowd as he left the court.

"I don't think the way they treated me was right," Safin said. "This is the first time this has happened to me and people are whistling at me. There are some guys who retire all the time. I give everything for the spectators."

The Croatian Ivan Ljubicic upset third seed, Andre Agassi, beating him 6-2, 6-4 yesterday. Agassi, fresh from his victory over Pete Sampras in the final of the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles, said: "My practise never felt right but you always hope that things will change in a match situation. I'm disappointed with the way it turned out. But today it was beyond my abilities to handle."

Ljubicic, a former Bosnian refugee who learned his tennis in Italy, was clearly more comfortable on the high-bouncing surface after a weekend of qualifying action.

In the women's Precon Open in Basle, Switzerland, the top seed, Silvia Farina of Italy, was forced to withdraw with heat exhaustion. Farina withdrew out when losing 6-3, 2-0 to the Swiss favourite Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian. Temperatures at the tournament were in the mid-30s C.