Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kuerten's Spirit Is a Lesson for Brits

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kuerten's Spirit Is a Lesson for Brits

Article excerpt


WORLD No1 Gustavo Kuerten showed a fighting spirit sadly lacking in Britain's top players as he dragged himself back from a twoset deficit to beat Max Mirnyi 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2 in the third round of the US Open.

Britain's Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski are still coming to terms with US Open defeats that leaves them as mere spectators just as the final Grand Slam of the year bursts into life.

Both suffered third-round exits against unseeded opponents and now, they have to focus on trying to get Britain back into the Davis Cup World Ground by winning on slow clay in Ecuador later this month.

The pair should have been preparing to meet in the fourth round today, but that match now features Xavier Malisse, who beat Henman against Mariano Zabaletta conqueror of Rusedski.

Belgian Malisse, coached by Tim Henman's former mentor David Felgate will be favourite to defeat Zabaletta of Argentina.

The tournament has reached its second week with an outstanding series of match-ups and Kuerten, a superstar in Brazil, fired off 33 aces and just 13 unforced errors in a battling three-and-a-half hour display.

He now faces Albert Costa in a fourth round that also boasts today's programme headed by sixth seed Pat Rafter taking on 10th seed Pete Sampras.

There is also the meeting between second seed Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, the 13th seed, who knocked Sampras out of Wimbledon. Defending champion Marit Safin is coming strongly into form and the third seed is up against 14th seed Thomas Johansson.

For Felgate, their is understandable excitement at still being involved in the tournament with his new charge.

Malisse started the Open by behaving so badly on court that Felgate gave the youngster a dressing down.

The words he used to prepare Malisse for the Henman match were just as effective and he said: "I told Malisse that Tim did not like serving first and I also told him to use the lob a lot.

"Even if it did not work all the time it would make him uncertain about coming to the net .

"But I have to admit at the end I was first delighted for Malisse, of course, but then I did spare a thought for Tim. …

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