Anemic ace count dooms Rusedski in Madrid
Madrid (dpa) - Greg Rusedski came up short in an ace duel with Croatian Iva Karlovic, crashing out in a war of nerves and serves 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) Tuesday in the first round of the 2.1-million-euros Madrid Masters.
The Briton was able to produce just nine aces, compared to an imposing 24 for Karlovic, a giant of 2.08 metres. The unseeded Rusedski, ranked 38th, complained that it just wasn't his day and vowed to try to re-group next week in St Petersburg.
"You couldn't have written a worse draw this week - Karlovic, altitude, quick courts," said the 32-year-old, due to become a father in late January with plans to skip the Australian Open that month. "It was probably the hardest of the first-round draw by far. He was pretty immaculate. With this altitude, being 500 metres above sea level, his serve's even that much more faster.”
"He creates angles nobody else does because he's nearly seven feet tall. It's not fun for anybody to play him." Rusedski dropped to 2-2 in the series against Karlovic, who will serve as opening opponent for second seed Andy Roddick Wednesday after a bye handed to all 16 seeds.
"I have to give him credit, he served fantastically well." Rusedski added: "It's obviously a little disappointing this week because I felt I've been playing pretty well. It's one of those matches that you just don't take. But he came up with the goods when it counted."
A pair of lower-ranking seeds advanced in the first of the second-round matches after byes. Spain's number 11 David Ferrer defeated Argentine qualifier Agustin Calleri 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 while U.S. Open semi-finalist Robby Ginepri, seeded 16, left France without a player in the field through his defeat of Sebastien Grosjean 4-6, 6-4., 6-4.
Both of Belgium's Rochus brothers won first-round encounters, with Christophe defeating Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 and Olivier putting out Czech Tomas Berdych 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3.