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Sport - Tennis Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Juergen Melzer sends Rusedski packing

ST. POELTEN (AUSTRIA), MAY 18. Greg Rusedski's first appearance on tour since his successful doping case ended quickly when he lost to Austrian Juergen Melzer 6-2, 7-6(1) in the first round of the Raiffeisen Grand Prix tennis on Tuesday.

Rusedski left the tour after the Australian Open to defend a doping charge from 2003, and he was cleared in March when he proved he unwittingly drank contaminated energy drinks provided by ATP Tour trainers.

Because the former top-10 player's ranking fell to 105, the ATP said it would help him return to the tour by encouraging tournaments to offer him wild cards, but the Briton didn't need one to play in St. Poelten, albeit briefly.

``It took me a very long time to get going,'' Rusedski said. ``Unfortunately, the first set was over too fast, so when my game finally came on, it was too late.''

Agassi ousted

Top-seeded Andre Agassi was eliminated by 339th-ranked Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia-Montenegro 6-2, 7-6(6) in the first round on Monday.

It was Agassi's first clay-court match of the year in preparation for next week's French Open, and his first on tour since March 30 when he lost in the fourth round at Miami.

"Zimonjic played great tennis. It was very hard for me to guess what he was going to do next," Agassi said.

"It is an unbelievable feeling and a great honour to have defeated Andre Agassi," Zimonjic said. "I was really lucky, because he lacked match practice and thus could only show his great skill occasionally."

The former world No. 1 had no real explanation for the shock exit. "I have played well in training, have beaten stronger opponents. But a match is a match and not training, I guess."

Argentina posts win

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis both survived tough matches on Monday as Australia edged the United States 2-1 at the World Team Cup in Duesseldorf.

Philippoussis erased a 5-2 deficit and a match point in the third set to beat Scottsdale winner Vincent Spadea 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(4). Hewitt edged Robby Ginepri 7-5, 6-7 (1), 6-4.

In the doubles match, Bob and Mike Bryan earned the United States a point by beating Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley 6-2, 6-4.

Argentina also won both singles matches to defeat the Netherlands 3-0. Gaston Gaudio edged Martin Verkerk 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, and Juan Ignacio Chela came through a marathon battle with Sjeng Schalken to win 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.

In the doubles, Lucas Arnold and Mariano Zabaleta made it a clean sweep by defeating John van Lottum and Verkerk 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The World Team Cup is a round-robin tournament contested by eight teams split into two groups. Each team plays three matches, two singles and a doubles, and the winners of each group advance to Saturday's final.

Bartoli struggles past Schett

Marion Bartoli overcame Austrian Barbara Schett 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 at the Strasbourg Open to ensure a clash with three-time Grand Slam winner Lindsay Davenport in the $170,000 clay-court tournament.

Zheng upsets Raymond

In Vienna, little-known Jie Zheng of China upset third-seeded Lisa Raymond of the United States 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the $170,000 Wien Energie Grand Prix.

Also, fifth-seeded American Amy Frazier overcame Ana Ivanovic of Serbia-Montenegro 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the next round.

The results:

At St. Poelten, Austria (ATP Raiffeisen Grand Prix): Second round: Xavier Malisse bt Hugo Armando 6-2, 6-2. Filippo Volandri bt Raemon Sluiter 6-4, 6-2.

First round: Juergen Melzer bt Greg Rusedski 6-2, 7-6(1); Julian Knowle bt Irakli Labadze 7-5, 4-6, 6-2; Nikolay Davydenko bt Dmitry Tursunov 6-2, 6-0; Mario Ancic bt Galo Blanco, Spain, 6-2, 6-4; Stefan Koubek bt Robin Soderling 7-5, 7-6(3); Hugo Armando bt Tomas Behrend 6-4, 6-3; Nenad Zimonjic bt Andre Agassi 6-2, 7-6(6); Xavier Malisse bt Karol Beck 7-5, 6-0; Olivier Rochus bt Harel Levy 6-1, 6-1.

At Strasbourg, France (WTA Strasbourg Open): Katarina Srebotnik bt Saori Obata 6-3, 6-4; Anabel Medina Garrigues bt Marie-Gayanay Mikaelian 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Barbora Strycova bt Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3; Marion Bartoli bt Barbara Schett 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Laura Granville bt Kristina Brandi 6-1, 7-6(5); Severine Beltrame bt Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1; Akiko Morigami bt Timea Bacsinszky 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3.

At Vienna, Austria (WTA Wien Energie Grand Prix): First round: Magui Serna bt Anca Barna 6-1, 6-0; Ting Li bt Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-1; Alicia Molik bt Martina Sucha 7-5, 7-6(4); Jelena Kostanic bt Samantha Stosur 6-0, 6-1; Klara Koukalova bt Gisela Dulko 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; Jie Zheng bt Lisa Raymond 6-3, 6-2; Yvonne Meusburger bt Maria Elena Camerin 7-6(4), 6-1; Lubomira Kurhajcova bt Ludmila Cervanova 6-3, 6-1; Amy Frazier bt Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1; Nicole Pratt bt Denisa Chladkova 7-6(5), 7-5.

At Casablanca, Morocco (ATP Grand Prix Hassan II tournament): First round: Julien Benneteau bt Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-4, 6-2; Thierry Ascione bt Mehdi Tahiri 6-3, 6-4; Ivo Heuberger bt Dennis van Scheppingen 6-4, 6-2; Juan-Pablo Guzman bt Eric Taino 6-2, 6-1; Simone Vagnozzi bt Jean-Rene Lisnard 7-6(7), 6-1; Albert Portas bt Olivier Mutis 6-2, 7-5; Nicolas Mahut bt Bjorn Rehnquist 6-1, 6-2; Santiago Ventura bt Razvan Sabau 6-2, 6-3; Federico Browne bt Zeljko Krajan 6-3, 7-5; Oscar Hernandez bt Mounir El Aarej 6-4, 6-4; Antony Dupuis bt Arnaud Di Pasquale 7-6(6), 6-4.

At Duesseldorf, Germany (ATP World Team Cup) Blue Group:

Australia 2 bt United States 1 (Mark Philippoussis bt Vincent Spadea 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(4); Lleyton Hewitt bt Robby Ginepri 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-4; Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (U.S.) bt Wayne Arthurs/Paul Hanley (Aus) 6-2, 6-4).

Argentina 3 bt Netherlands 0 (Gaston Gaudio bt Martin Verkerk 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; Juan Ignacio Chela bt Sjeng Schalken 6-3, 5-7, 7-5; Lucas Arnold/Mariano Zabaleta bt John van Lottum/Martin Verkerk 3-6, 6-3, 6-3). — AP

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