Rusedski season hits new depths

Greg Rusedski's sorry season hit a new low yesterday as he suffered an embarrassing second-round defeat against the little-known Russian Andrei Stoliarov at the President's Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Greg Rusedski's sorry season hit a new low yesterday as he suffered an embarrassing second-round defeat against the little-known Russian Andrei Stoliarov at the President's Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The fifth-seeded Briton won the first set on a tie-break, but Stoliarov upped his game to clinch a 6-7, 6-3, 7-5 victory.

The win goes down as by far the best result of unseeded 23-year-old Stoliarov's career. His season has been spent almost entirely on the Challenger Tour and this is only his second tournament on the main circuit.

He stands 197th in the Champions Race and even has an overall losing record on the Challenger Tour this season.

Rusedski finished 1999 ranked 14th in the world, but the latest Champions Race standings show him at No 74 after a spate of injuries and a run of consistently poor form.

Marat Safin, the US Open champion, overcame a long flight and jet lag to win his first-round match. Safin defeated Oleg Ogorodov of Uzbekistan, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that lasted an hour and 14 minutes.

"I knew it would be a difficult game, since I had a very long and difficult flight," Safin said. "It was not easy for me to appear on the court after the hard final in New York. I need a day or two to become acclimatised, to get my game going and to reach the highest level."

Safin defeated the American Pete Sampras on Sunday at Flushing Meadows to become the first Russian to win the US Open.

The unseeded German Marc-Kevin Goellner defeated fifth-seed Magnus Gustafsson, of Sweden, 7-5, 7-6, in the second round of the Gelsor Open in Bucharest.

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