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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Ivanisevic wins on return
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Goran Ivanisevic
Ivanisevic was playing only his 12th match of the year
Goran Ivanisevic made a victorious return to Wimbledon against 31st seed Mikhail Youzhny after three years away.

The 2001 champion, who missed the last two years through injury, fulfilled his wish of playing at least one more match on Centre Court before retiring.

Ivanisevic broke Youzhny in the second game and went on to take the set, before rain stopped play soon after.

And the Croatian kept up the pressure when the match resumed, coming through 6-3 7-6 6-2 in one hour 26 minutes.

"It was beautiful," said Ivanisevic afterwards. "The reaction of the crowd was just perfect.

"They still want me to play here, they don't want to see me lose. He didn't have any chance - it was the best I played for a really long time.

England are not going to win, so why be depressed?
Goran Ivanisevic on England v Croatia
"It's going to be sad if I lose but I have great relationship with the English crowd, that's why I'm going to retire after this tournament."

Ivanisevic came into the match with just two wins from 11 matches this year, and without a victory since March, and Youzhny was a strong favourite as world number 35.

However, from the moment the crowd hailed Ivanisevic as he stepped back onto Centre Court, the former champion looked in control of the situation.

Youzhny made an edgy start, losing his first service game, and that proved decisive as Ivanisevic served out the set.

Two rain breaks in the second set disrupted Ivanisevic's rhythm but some careful baseline rallying in the tie-break forced errors from Youzhny.

The tennis gods appeared still to be with the Croatian when a net-cord gave him three set points and he duly converted the second, to the delight of the SW19 crowd.

And the same patient baseline approach drew another break of serve in game four of the third set, before the match was wrapped up when Youzhny put a forehand long.

Ivanisevic soaked up the applause before hurrying off Centre Court, presumably keen to watch his beloved Croatia take on England in Euro 2004.

"I have to say thank you to the Wimbledon Committee for the schedule, which means I can watch the game," said Ivanisevic.

"I would be sad if we lost but England are not going to win, so why be depressed?"

Wimbledon: Day one highlights

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