Moroccan tennis star Hicham Arazi was among opening round winners in Tuesday's action at the AXA Cup Tennis Tournament in London.
Arazi, the tournament's eighth seed, defeated American Jan-Michael Gambill, one of his county's most promising young players, 6-4, 7-5. Arazi must feel comfortable at this tournament. He reached the semifinals last year and is striving to progress even further this week. Next in line for Arazi is Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, who ousted Russia's Marat Safin 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Among those opponents Arazi will not have to worry about facing is second seed Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, who fell quietly to Swiss teenager Roger Federer 6-2, 6-3. Kiefer was coming off his first ATP victory of 2000 two weeks ago in Dubai, but appeared unfocused at times against Federer. Kiefer's match record for the year now stands at 14-4.
The AXA Cup features some of the tour's top servers. Marc Rosset and Goran Ivanisevic, two rocket launchers who are past the prime of their careers, both benefited from the fast indoor surface. Rosset eliminated unheralded Croat Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 6-4, while Ivanisevic routed Zimbabwe's Wayne Black 7-5, 6-2. Hometown hero Greg Rusedski, who possesses the most dangerous serve in the men's game today, swept aside Arnaud Clement of France 6-3, 6-4. Rusedski became an instantaneous hero in Britain several years ago when he abandoned his home country of Canada and took residence in England. Since making this controversial move, Rusedski has achieved his greatest professional results.
Top prize at the $800,000 tournament is $130,000.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)