Rusedski strides into second round

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The Independent Online

A lot of Buxton Water has flowed since Greg Rusedski cashed in on last year's Wimbledon expletives with a television advertisement for the mineral drink. Having survived a positive test for nandrolone, he is attempting to rescue his career from the depths of a world ranking of 165.

A lot of Buxton Water has flowed since Greg Rusedski cashed in on last year's Wimbledon expletives with a television advertisement for the mineral drink. Having survived a positive test for nandrolone, he is attempting to rescue his career from the depths of a world ranking of 165.

Yesterday morning, the 30-year-old Rusedski walked briskly and purposefully through the All England Club grounds to the practice courts, a white cap pulled low, probably to shield his eyes from the sun and the wind; perhaps to avoid being stopped by passers-by.

After waiting for two days to start the tournament, trying to relax in his Chelsea flat as the rain fell, but becoming bored - "I was reading an article in the paper about someone freezing clouds" - the Canadian-born Briton with a wild card was keen for action.

Encouraged by the roar that greeted him on Court No 1, where Tim Henman, his Davis Cup team-mate, had struggled to find his grass-court form on Tuesday before prevailing against Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, of Spain, Rusedski enjoyed what he called a "pretty routine" win against Davide Sanguinetti, an Italian lucky loser from the qualifying tournament, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

"It's just great to come out and break a total of five times today and to be on the court a little less than two hours," Rusedski said.

Unlike Henman, who found the conditions on Court No 1 too slow, Rusedski said he thought it was fine "if you hit your shots and go after your serve".

He added: "The grass is obviously a little bit slower than it has been with the balls historically, but you have just got to stay aggressive stay positive."

Although Rusedski was positive enough to hit 21 aces, there was nothing routine about the match as far as the spectators were concerned until the final two sets, when Sanguinetti, ranked 112, showed signs of wilting.

Rusedski dropped only four points on serve in the opening set, breaking Sanguinetti at 6-5. The Italian helped by double-faulting on the first and third points. Rusedski then returned a second serve for 15-40 and converted his first set point with a forehand drive to the corner.

The second set was crisis-free until the seventh game, after Rusedski strung three aces together at 1-1, when Rusedski's double-faults kicked in. One put him at 15-30, at which point Sanguinetti rattled him with two successive forehand drives to create the first two of four break points.

Rusedski was able to save three of them, only to double-fault once again to present Sanguinetti with a fourth, which the Italian converted with a forehand down the line.

The break was enough to hand Sanguinetti the set and put Rusedski's supporters on the edge of their seats.

Quickly reassuring them, Rusedski broke for 2-0 in the third set and saved three break points at 3-1. Sanguinetti shook his fist in triumph after hitting a spectacular backhand drive volley to create the third opportunity but Rusedski responded with three consecutive service winners, and went on to break to love in the eighth game.

The fourth set had a similar pattern but without any scares for Rusedski, who broke in the second and eighth games to win after an hour and 57 minutes.

Rusedski next plays Rainer Schuettler, of Germany, the eighth seed, who had his best run at Wimbledon last year when he advanced to the fourth round. "It's going to be a level up from today," Rusedski said, "but it's going to be exciting."

Careful to avoid being drawn into a lengthy discussion about his problems over the past 12 months, Rusedski said: "It was great to put all that behind me and get on with my tennis. If you get emotional, you're not going to play well. You don't want to let all those emotions out because you want to do well. You want to do well for the public. You want to do well for yourself. You just want to play good tennis."

Guillermo Coria, the third seed, opened the day's proceedings on Court No 1 at noon after spending two days waiting to compete his first win at Wimbledon, other than as a junior. Defeated in the first round on his two previous visits, the Argentine clay-courter was serving for the match against Wesley Moodie, of South Africa, at 5-3, 30-30, in the final set when play was suspended on Tuesday evening. He finished the job after one minute and 45 seconds, during which 11 shots were played in the two points to secure a 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory for the player who defeated Henman in the French Open semi-finals.

"I went on the court seriously concentrating on those two points," Coria said. "I wasn't sure of myself. I felt strong."

That was not how it had been for Coria on Tuesday night. "I was quite mad," he said, "because I thought it should have been stopped earlier. It was drizzling, so we were in danger. We could have hurt ourselves. I asked the umpire five or six times to stop."

Coria was happy to spend Wednesday watching films - "I saw five or six. I saw one [featuring] Antonio Banderas and Robert DeNiro was in another" - and relaxing. "In one way it was good to rest, because I had played a lot of matches last week," he said.

Roger Federer, of Switzerland, the defending champion and world No 1, is through to the third round after spending only 54 minutes on Court No 1 yesterday. He swept past Alejandro Falla, a 22-year-old qualifier from Colombia, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.

"This has been maybe the easiest match for me in a Grand Slam, if you look at everything together," Federer said. "But I had to play well today to beat him, because he wasn't a player who was just going to give it to me. I had to fight hard, especially in the first set."

Federer's rivals would love to have such an easy time - Juan Carlos Ferrero, the sixth seed, for example, toiled for three hours and forty minutes, before winning his second round against Stefan Koubek, of Austria, 4-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6, 8-6.

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