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Vincent Spadea
Vincent Spadea
"I've shown myself I can rise to big occasions and beat big players"
 real 28k

Monday, 26 June, 2000, 20:05 GMT 21:05 UK
Rusedski loses to 'Tour's worst player'
Greg Rusedski
Rusedski: Crashed out in the first round
V Spadea bt G Rusedski 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-7 (8/10), 9-7

Greg Rusedski fell at Wimbledon's first hurdle in an epic five-set clash with American Vince Spadea - the man with the worst losing streak on the ATP Tour.

The British number two, who has failed to show any kind of form this season, lost a thrilling contest on Court One 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 9-7.

But despite the excitement, the defeat ranks as one of the lowest points in Rusedski's career, because Spadea was coming off the back of his remarkable - and unprecedented - 22-game run without a win.

Rusedski served six double faults in his opening game which set the tone for the first set.

And he struggled to find his natural serve-and-volley game as Spadea played out of his skin.

Rusedski was broken in the second set but began to play marginally better and pulled it back in the 10th game as he began to believe in himself.


He was 40-love up on his serve when the rain came down and he was more than happy to go off so he could get some much-needed coaching.

Greg Rusedski: Poor form continues
Rusedski served an ace when play resumed to hold his serve.

Spadea held his serve and the second went to a tie-break which Rusedski won.

However his brief form disappeared again in the third set when his serve let him down once more.

Spadea then broke to gain the advantage and took the set 6-3 for a 2-1 lead to leave the Briton with his back to the wall.

Big serve

Rusedski eventually began to find his big serves and his natural serve-volley game resumed.

However he was still unable to break down Spadea, who was having the match of his life, and the set went with serve.

There were glimpses of Rusedski's potential but on the big points, including a set point, he elected to stay at the back of the court and could not capitalise.

It meant the fourth set went to a nervous tie-breaker.

Twice Rusedski faced match point but he managed to pull out all the stops to take it to a final set against all odds.


Every time Rusedski seemed to have a stranglehold on the game the American bounced back.

And a combination of glorious lobs and thunderous returns earned Spadea a break in the fourth game of the final set.

But Rusedski clawed his way back into contention by winning the fifth game, although he needed a huge slice of luck as his poor return bobbled over the net.

The set went with serve for the next few games, with Rusedski successfully defending his opponent's third match point.

But with three hours and 50 minutes of exhausting tennis played, Spadea finally put Rusedski to the sword in the 16th game of the final set.

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See also:

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'Voice of tennis' calls for new approach
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Rusedski rues Spadea loss
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