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Tennis-Rusedski storms into Ericsson Open second round

Tennis-Rusedski storms into Ericsson Open second round

Greg Rusedski turned in a remarkable performance in his opening match at the Ericsson Open on Thursday, pummeling Nicolas Massu of Chile 6-4 6-1.

The Canadian-born Briton turned a tight match into a 62-minute rout with an astonishing run that began late in the first set.

The 43rd-ranked Rusedski was leading 5-4 with Massu serving at 40-0, giving the Chilean three shots to level the set at five games each. Instead, the big Briton won 25 consecutive points to take the first set and a commanding 5-0 lead in the second before Massu knew what hit him.

"I'm quite pleased about that," Rusedski said. "From 40-0, from there on, it seemed to flow my way. He got a little bit frustrated and I think he was just frustrated at himself."

Rusedski's feat comes close to the accomplishment of Bill Scanlon, who is the only man on record to capture a golden set, winning all 24-points in a set when he beat Brazilian Marcos Hocevar 6-2 6-0 in the first round at the 1982 WCT-Delray Beach tournament.

At the time, Scanlon had to have won at least 25 points as he finished off the first set on a winning note before putting together his perfect set.

Rusedski appears to be clawing his way back to the category of forces to be reckoned with on the men's tour after having little to boast about in 2000.

The Briton, who recorded the fastest serve at 149 mph (239.7 kmh) at the 1998 Indian Wells tournament, had surgery to remove a cyst from his right foot in December 1999 and had difficulty recovering for most of the next year.

BIG WIN OVER AGASSI

Earlier this month, Rusedski announced his return to form by capturing his 10th career title and first since 1999 by beating Australian Open champion Andre Agassi in the final at San Jose.

"I feel physically great," Rusedski said. "My preparation for this week has been fantastic."

Rusedski, looked to be in a dog fight against Massu before his incredible streak.

The 62nd-ranked Massu's ability to stay in the match waned dramatically after Rusedski converted the first break point he was presented with, which also happened to be a set point in that game Massu had led 40-0.

"I managed to keep him at bay and I knew he couldn't play any better than he had those first nine games," Rusedski said.

"I think that's probably what built in the frustration when I broke. He knew he couldn't raise his game any higher or hit the ball any better.

"I raised it a little bit and he dipped slightly. That was the story today."

Massu had claimed a big win over Rusedski's compatriot Tim Henman earlier in the year, upsetting him in the semifinals of Adelaide in January. But he had no answers for Rusedski on the day once the Briton got on a roll.

Rusedski, who closed out the match with a love game, never gave Massu a break point, while converting all three break opportunities offered him by Massu.

In the second round Rusedski will meet David Prinosil of Germany, a player for whom he shares a surgical history. Both endured similar foot surgeries at the same hospital.

"We're having a little bit of a joke with each other," Rusedski said. "We're looking forward to our first meeting since the rehab clinic.

"We spent a long time together in the rehab clinic. Whoever wins will probably give the other guy a pretty hard time afterwards."


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