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Richard Krajicek in fine form
Ossian Shine |
June 10, 2003 11:13 IST
Former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek showed he still has what it takes on British grass on Monday, beating Mark Philippoussis 7-6 6-3 in the Stella Artois Championships.
But for another member of that exclusive club, Goran Ivanisevic, it was more pain and misery as he went out, wincing with a left elbow injury, in the first round.
The Croatian, Wimbledon champion in 2001, received on-court treatment from ATP trainer Bill Norris but was unable to threaten Czech Jan Vacek as he succumbed 6-2 6-2.
Of more concern to Ivanisevic is that the injury could jeopardise his dream to step out at Wimbledon one final time. The grasscourt grand slam starts in two weeks.
With a ranking of 681 the Croatian will need a wildcard into the tournament. As he missed his defence last year, it seems likely Wimbledon organisers will give him one later this week.
The last time they did so, he won the title.
"My elbow was hurting so I don't know what I'm gonna do," Ivanisevic said. "Have some scans or something... see what is wrong.
"Nobody knows. But there is time, still time. Let's see if I can do something."
Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon winner, came from set points down in the opening set of his match to win it on a tiebreak before easing away from the 14th-seeded Australian in the second set.
"In the first set he was the better player," Krajicek said. "But I managed to pull it out somehow. It feels good to be back on the grass," he said, before adding that retirement is very much on his mind.
"I don't want to say that this season is my last, because I may well come back and play on grass next year but really this is my last big effort.
"The grasscourt season and then the American summer and then that will be it really. No more playing week in week out."
The Dutchman has been plagued with injuries, the most recent a damaged foot, but says he is feeling fit as he warms up for Wimbledon.
"Yeah, it is nice. Nothing wrong with me," he smiled. "But that is no guarantee how I am going to do at Wimbledon."
Krajicek, with a world ranking of 74, needed a wildcard into the 800,000 Euro ($936,700) tournament. He plays Vacek next.
For 1997 Stella champion Philippoussis, who had squandered two set points in the first set at 5-4 on Krajicek's serve, it was not the ideal start to his grasscourt season.
"There wasn't much I could do out there," he said. "It's my first match on grass and I've got two more weeks (before Wimbledon).
"It would have been nice to have done well here but I'm not going to put my head down. I've got to work hard, work on my returns and get my range together."
Krajicek was joined in the second round by compatriot Raemon Sluiter who ousted Romanian Adrian Voinea. His reward is a clash with top seed and world number one Lleyton Hewitt.
Hewitt is bidding to win a fourth straight Stella title on the Queen's Club grass.
Britain's Greg Rusedski thrilled home fans with victory over 15th seed Robby Ginepri 7-6 3-6 6-0 -- his first win on the ATP Tour this year after injury problems.
Towering American Todd Martin blasted his way into the second round, thrashing Brazil's Ricardo Mello 6-2 6-1 while 10th seed Jan-Michael Gambill beat Swedish former top-tenner Thomas Enqvist in two tiebreak sets.