Rusedski wiped out as Henman cleans up

Some defeats are worse than others, and Greg Rusedski will not forget yesterday's match in a hurry. It was none the better for its brevity, for a four-setter that is over in 93 minutes can only spell humiliation for the loser.

Some defeats are worse than others, and Greg Rusedski will not forget yesterday's match in a hurry. It was none the better for its brevity, for a four-setter that is over in 93 minutes can only spell humiliation for the loser.

The British No 2 was put through purgatory by Andy Roddick, who won the first set in 18 minutes, conceding not a single game and only two points on his serve. Rusedski took the second, but even he did not believe he deserved it. Less than hour later, his torment was complete. The scoreboard read 6-0, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Rusedski is the second biggest server in the game, but Roddick - who holds the 155mph record - is the biggest. The No 2 seed, too, has more weapons to rely on. When Rusedski's serve deserts him, he is in serious trouble. In the second-round match at the Australian Open, he won only 37 per cent of points on his second serve, to his opponent's 67 per cent.

"I didn't play as well as I'd like tonight," he said, with singular understatement. "I didn't make enough balls and play enough returns. He was much the better player. Sometimes you have these days when nothing really works for you, and that's the sort of day I had. You just have to try to put it behind you."

Asked about his plans regarding the Davis Cup, following Tim Henman's withdrawal from the team, he replied: "I can't think about anything after that match, to be honest."

Rusedski had his serve broken in the opening game, and again in the third and fifth, losing 10 consecutive points and winning only 11 in the set. He donned a hat during one changeover, but if that was supposed to help, it did not.

The 2003 US Open champion forced a frenetically quick pace, and continued to dominate in the second set. The 31-year-old Briton exploited his one poor game, in which he produced two double-faults. But the score - one set all - did not reflect the reality on court. The 22-year-old American then rattled off the third and fourth sets in 25 and 24 minutes respectively.

Afterwards he appeared shocked at the speed of his win. "You never expect to play a match like that, especially against a guy like Greg," he said. "Tonight it was just clicking for me."

Henman fared better against Victor Hanescu, playing the Romanian for the first time. There are similarities between the two men, including their hairstyles (short, black and tufty), but the differences are more pronounced. Hanescu is seven years younger (23), five inches taller (6ft 6in) and 81 points lower in the rankings. His ATP title tally is nil, whereas Henman has won 11. He dripped with sweat during their tie, while the British No 7 seed barely raised one.

The two-hour match - culminating in a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 win for the British No 1 - was short on drama and short on just about everything else. The words "paint" and "dry" sprang repeatedly to mind as the pair toiled towards the inevitable conclusion.

Henman, who tomorrow meets Nikolai Davydenko, the Russian No 26 seed, lost his serve early in the first set but broke back straight away, then converted a set point on the Romanian's serve at 6-5. In the second set, he dropped only one game; in the third, he saved three break points, broke Hanescu's serve for a 5-4 lead and served out the match.

Henman's post-match press conference was about as absorbing as the tennis. "I played well," he observed. "I was unlucky to lose my serve in the first set, but I responded well."

As spectators pinched themselves to stay awake, a far more entertaining encounter was playing out on Rod Laver Arena, where James Blake stole the first set off Lleyton Hewitt, the local hero, and took him to the brink during a second-set tie-break.

In a match replete with on-court theatrics, Blake - who broke vertebrae in his neck last year and lost his father to stomach cancer - had two set points in the second set. But he cut his racket hand during the tie-break and thereafter crumbled, losing 4-6, 7-6, 6-0, 6-3.

The men's draw lost four seeds, including Sébastian Grosjean, Andrei Pavel and Nicolas Massu, the latter forced to retire with an injured foot. Mikhail Youzhny, the No 15, was beaten in five sets by the talented Spanish teenager, Rafael Nadal.

In the women's draw, Venus Williams and Elena Dementieva advanced in straight sets, while Lindsay Davenport, the No 1 seed, and Anastasia Myskina, the French Open champion, dropped a set en route to the third round. The No 20 seed, Tatiana Golovin, was knocked out by a greenhorn American, Abigail Spears.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests