Also cheered to the rafters was the three-times champion Boris Becker, who bowed out of the All England Club after being beaten in straight sets by the number two seed, Pat Rafter, from Australia. Becker, 31, whose Wimbledon career began in 1984, retires later this year.
Henman's victory was consolation for fans who had earlier seen the other remaining Briton, Greg Rusedski, lose to the Australian Mark Philippoussis.
Rusedski, the British number two, was treated for a hamstring injury in the fourth set. Philippoussis - who now faces the reigning champion, Pete Sampras - often served at more than 130mph in the battle of the world's two fastest servers. Henman, 24, led the unseeded Courier by two sets to one and by four games to three when the match was halted by rain on Monday. On Tuesday they were on court for less than a minute before the covers went on again.
Henman, who dreams of being the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, gave fans some anxious moments yesterday during a fifth set that was pure drama. Tension rose and the umpire appealed for quiet as flag-waving spectators chanted, squealed and wolf-whistled.
Usually undemonstrative, Henman half-sank to his knees and smashed a ball high into the stands when he finally clinched the match. He meets Cedric Pioline of France today.
There was vociferous support too for Becker, who commands an affection from British crowds rarely enjoyed by foreign sportsmen.
Becker, the youngest man to win Wimbledon when he first took the title at the age of 17 in 1985, received a standing ovation as he left Centre Court, the scene of his many triumphs. "It was a nice way to say goodbye," he said later.
Anna Kournikova, the Russian whose minuscule outfits have attracted as much attention as her tennis, lost to the American Venus Williams.Reuse content