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COR-SET 'N MATCH; Greg beats agony to roar back from dead.

Gutsy Greg Rusedski brought the house down last night after one of THE great Wimbledon comebacks.

The new Brit pin-up won a titanic decider 11-9 with Yank big-hitter Jon Stark after being two sets down and going 5- 4 down in the last.

And a full house on the new pounds 20million No 1 court rose to their hero after a match in which he:

POPPED painkillers after collapsing with back trouble which forced him to wear a corset.

SCREAMED twice at line judges over hair-line calls against him.

SNARLED at the umpire after being penalised for taking too long a break.

WHACKED a ball at his opponent for wasting time between points.

By the time Tim Henman had made it EIGHT British men and TWO women in the second week of the singles, Rusedski was two sets down and looked dead and buried.

But Hen's Ten became Greg's Eleven as the Canadian-born hunk dug deep to clinch an incredible win.

And he beamed: "It's the first time I've come back from two sets down and I guess it's my best performance.

"I had fantastic support from my girlfriend Lucy, my family, my coach and the crowd - they made it like the Centre Court out there.

"I damaged my back in practice in the morning. I wore a corset for protection and took Ibuprofen during the match."

Rusedski, who now meets fellow Brit Andrew Richardson in the third round, joins the other home heroes on standby this morning as All-England Club bosses prepare for an extra day's play to beat a huge backlog of ties.

Chief executive Chris Gorringe announced the second People's Sunday in Wimbledon history as hopes grew of British glory.

That might not be such a pipe dream - Henman's win over Frenchman Jerome Golmard was a comfortable three-setter.

Rusedski, though, did it the hard way - and how the crowd lapped it up.

It seemed his hopes had gone down the toilet as he double-faulted to hand Stark victory in a second set tie- break.

Yet even in his darkest hour he summoned the strength to take the next two sets.

He was broken in the fifth and was 5-4 down facing Stark's serve. Yet three magnificent winning passes got him level.

In the end, Rusedski broke serve again to win the set's 20th game and leapt around court to a standing ovation.

Meanwhile, Henman revealed he was desperate to get his match out of the way so he could catch the RUGBY on telly.

Relaxing in a British Lions shirt, he said: "It was good to see them win... and win myself."

But there was agony for pint-sized Brit Danny Sapsford.

He saw off Nick Pereira 3-6 6-2 7-6 6-3 after a four-day wait to finish their first round clash.

But tired Sapsford had no time to celebrate his win - he was back on court to face Zimbabwe's Byron Black for his second round clash, which he lost in 6-2 7-5 6-2.

Meanwhile, Britain's Lorna Woodroffe dismissed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in their first round clash.

Elsewhere, Boris Becker and Michael Stich went through in straight sets but Goran Ivanisevic fell to Sweden's Magnus Norman.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Leckie, Bill
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 29, 1997
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