By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Mark Philippoussis breezed past Greg Rusedski in a disappointing 26 minutes of Legends Exhibition Singles on Centre Court.
The Australian polished off Rusedski with a 140mph ace that left the former world no4 rooted to the spot in their shortened contest.
Due to two hours of the day’s play being lost to rain, their match was reduced to the first to five games.
Philippoussis and Rusedski sheepishly entered the Centre Court arena to blaring music that didn’t reflect their clean cut images and all white attire. And fans left in their droves, seemingly put off by the razzmatazz of the game.
As the fans drifted away so did the heat of the sunshine, resulting in what proved to be a tepid clash of the big-serving veterans.
Philippoussis, sporting black tape on his right knee (that saw him sidelined from the ATP circuit throughout 2007), was in command throughout and after winning the opening game broke serve of the ex-British no1.
Although Rusedski, a five-time winner of ATP grass court tournaments, immediately broke back he soon trailed by two games again after losing his serve.
Philippoussis, at 36 is three years younger than his opponent, and this difference in age seemed to show as Rusedski was left scrambling around the court chasing lost causes.
With the Australian easily holding serve with the sort of power that has barely diminished since capturing the Queen’s crowd in London on grass, the writing was on the wall for the Canadian-born Brit.
Yet Rusedski survived on his service game courtesy of some dubious returns that would have raised eyebrows in a competitive match but not in an exhibition.
Philippoussis’ thundering serves left Rusedski flat-footed again to register a thumping 5-2 success without breaking sweat.
But Rusedski, who goes to next week’s Wimbledon to defend his Over-35s Men’s Doubles crown, returned to Centre Court to get revenge over Philippoussis in the Mixed Doubles.
Rusedski joined forces with ex-Eastbourne winner Lindsay Davenport, a former world no1 at Singles, and with the American saw off the challenge of Philippoussis and his Australian Doubles partner Rennae Stubbs 5-3.
Legends Exhibition results:
Philippoussis defeated Rusedski 5-2
Davenport/Rusedski defeated Philippoussis/Stubbs 5-3