Tired Rusedski surrenders to aches and pains

Greg Rusedski was unable to capitalise on a two sets to love lead at the United States Open for a second consecutive year here yesterday. This time, unlike his contest against the American Todd Martin in the fourth round last year, Rusedski held two match points against the Frenchman Cedric Pioline in a fourth-set tie-break. Eventually, however, the British No 2 ran out of steam and Piloine prevailed, 6-7, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 after three hours and 45 minutes.

Greg Rusedski was unable to capitalise on a two sets to love lead at the United States Open for a second consecutive year here yesterday. This time, unlike his contest against the American Todd Martin in the fourth round last year, Rusedski held two match points against the Frenchman Cedric Pioline in a fourth-set tie-break. Eventually, however, the British No 2 ran out of steam and Piloine prevailed, 6-7, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 after three hours and 45 minutes.

Pioline now plays Martin in the third round. Like Rusedski, the Frenchman has barely played since Wimbledon. In Rusedski's case, he was sidelined by the recurrence of an injury to his right foot. Pioline had surgery after breaking three bones in the fingers of his left hand while playing volleyball.

In common with Rusedski, Pioloine has been a finalist in the men's singles here. Whether he can raise his game for another sustained challenge is open to speuclation, but Rusedski was the man lying flat on his stomach having cream rubbed into his sore back before going into the decisive set. He lost the first nine points of the fifth set, but he managed to break back for 3-3 before Pioline produced the telling shots to take a 4-3 lead and then break with a forehand pass on his first match point.

In the opening set, which took 51 minutes, Rusedski looked second best in several games in terms of wit, movement and execution . He served his way back from 0-40 in the fourth game, and attacked Pioline in the fifth, and broke to love for 3-2, the Frenchman double-faulting on break point.

Rusedski won the next two points, extending his run to 11 in a row - only to lose the next 10. A double-fault to 30-40 gave Pioline the incentive to break back for 3-3, driving an unstoppable forehand on the concluding point.

At 3-4, Rusdeski saved two break points, and the set moved on to a tie-break. Pioline struck first, for 1-2. Rusedski struck back for 2-2, and then displayed astute movement to gain another mini-break for 5-3. An 136 mph ace took Rusedski to set point, and Pioline returned a second serve long for 7-4.

Rusedski took a 2-0 lead in the second set, only to be passed by a Pioline backhand on break point in the third game. There was little doubt, however, that Rusedski's confidence had grown. At 2-2, he saved five break points and battled through eight deuces.

By now, the heat and humidity was taking a toll. "I'm going to change my shorts," Rusedski said to the umpire during the change-over. "You have to wait to do that between sets," the umpire replied. So Rusedski settled for changing his shoes and socks.

This made him comfortable enough to break for 4-2 in the next game, hitting a backhand winner across the court. There was cause for concern, however, after Pioline caught the baseline with a forehand to save the first set point with Rusedski serving at 5-3, 40-30, and then created a break point, passing Rusedski with a backhand down the line at deuce.

The Frenchman showed less control with his next shot, missing a forehand service return, and his chances of saving the set disappeared when he drove a forehand into the net on the second set point. Rusedski was then allowed to go to the bathroom to change his shorts.

He may have been refreshed for the third set, but it did not show when he was broken for 1-3. Resilience enabled him to recover the break and then hold for 3-3. Rusedski had chances to break for 4-3, but Pioline resisted. He hit a venomous smash at Rusedski, the ball striking him on the rear as he twisted away, as the Frenchman held service. Pioline bruised Rusedski even more severely by breaking him for 4-6 to pull a set back.

Pioline served to level the match when leading 5-3 in the fourth set, but was broken by Rusedski, who then had two match points at 6-4 in the tie-break. Pioline saved the first with a potent second service return and the second with a foerhand pass and went on to win the shoot-out, 8-6.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all