Rusedski's confident Kremlin Cup opening

Greg Rusedski stayed cool in the Kremlin Cup to overcome his first-round opponent Karim Alami, of Morroco, in straight sets last night. The British No 2 took the honours 7-5, 6-1 as he continued his recuperation after a series of injury setbacks.

Greg Rusedski stayed cool in the Kremlin Cup to overcome his first-round opponent Karim Alami, of Morroco, in straight sets last night. The British No 2 took the honours 7-5, 6-1 as he continued his recuperation after a series of injury setbacks.

Marat Safin, the US Open champion, finally broke his duck in the competition, overcoming Rainer Schuttler, of Germany, 6-4, 6-4. The top-seeded Russian had failed to survive the opening round in his three previous appearances in the Moscow tournament.

Safin fired down seven aces in his confident win. "The first match is always the toughest one, especially playing at home," he said. "You always feel nervous in front of so many home fans rooting for you, and Schuttler is not an easy guy to play against. Last year I didn't have a chance against him, losing 6-1, 6-4."

It was a different story this time as Safin broke the German in the opening game to take the first set, then made a decisive break in the seventh game of the second set.

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