Former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek enjoyed a winning return to the Liverpool International this afternoon by defeating Great Britain’s Greg Rusedski 7-5, 3-6, 10-2 at Calderstones Park.
The Dutchman is making his fourth appearance at the event this week and excelled in a battle of the big servers out on Centre Court to kick off this year’s legends event.
“I feel great,” said Krajicek. “I played very well and had a lot of chances to break, normally I don’t get that against Greg but his serve is not as good as it was back when he was a pro!
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow now, it’s always great to get back on the grass and this was one of the first events I played in when I retired, so I always love coming back here.” he added.
Krajicek edged a first set full of classic grass court action, as both men looked to attack the net and entertain the crowd in their first match-up of the week.
The 39-year-old was as impressive as ever on serve and gained the crucial break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead and serve out for the first set.
Rusedski was cheered on wilfully by the home crowd and displayed great touch at the net to break in the second set and force a champion’s tie-break to settle the match.
However, the Brit’s serve deserted him when it mattered most and a succession of double faults saw Krajicek take a commanding lead before sealing the victory with an ace on his first match point.
“It’s great to play with Richard,” said Rusedski. “It’s a little bit of old school tennis, with serve and volley, and we both have pretty big serves, so I always enjoy it and always enjoy playing here in Liverpool.
“I’m going to be on court with the kids here [this week] and I think it’s great that it’s being played in a local park because that’s how I got involved in tennis.
“To have kids come out to play and watch is a great thing because that’s how we’re going to get more kids involved in the game and that can only be a positive.” he added.