Dark days for hapless Henman

Tennis

The encouraging news is that Britain has a player through to the quarter- finals of the Stella Artois Championships for only the third time since the event started in 1979. Greg Rusedski will meet Pat Rafter today, having defeated the Australian's compatriot, Scott Draper, in the third round.

So whither Tim Henman, the British No 1 and the No 4 seed here at Queen's? Defeated, and ready to accept a wild card for next week's Nottingham Open in search of match practice to sharpen his game and rebuild his confidence for Wimbledon in 10 days' time.

Henman, who 12 months ago became the nation's first Wimbledon men's singles quarter-finalist for 23 years, was beaten yesterday by Germany's Jens Knippschild, ranked No 105 in the world and competing on grass for the first time since he was a junior six years ago.

Knippschild, a 22-year-old with a "Gazza" blond hairdo, demonstrated a penchant for upsets earlier in the week by eliminating Jason Stoltenberg, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, and Olivier Delaitre, who dispatched Henman in the first round of the French Open.

Yesterday's defeat, 7-6, 6-3, was a continuation of Henman's disappointing form since the final of the European Community Championship in Antwerp in February. In March he underwent surgery to remove pieces of floating bone from his right elbow, and he has won only two matches since - against Roberto Carretero, who retired injured during the third set of their contest at the Italian Open, and Andrew Richardson, a compatriot, in the second round here (Henman received a bye in the first round).

The disturbing aspect of yesterday's performance was how much Henman's wayward serving contributed to his defeat after he had broken Knippschild to lead 4-3 in the opening set. Two double-faults gave the German the incentive to level, and he proceeded to win the tie-break, 7-5.

Henman, broken for 1-2 in the second set, could hardly blame himself for failing to break back immediately. He had two opportunities in the fourth game, narrowly missing with a backhand lob on the first, and being aced by Knippschild on the second.

But Henman came close to gifting the fifth game with two double-faults, rescuing himself with four consecutive winning volleys, and finally lost the match with two successive double-faults, taking his total to seven.

"You've always got to be aggressive if you're going for serve and volley on first and second serve," Henman said, "and inevitably you're going to miss some.''

The comment was typical of Henman's responses when interviewed about the display. His attitude suggested that the defeat was merely a blip on his landscape, par for the course at Queen's, where he has won only one match in each of the past four years.

One reporter remarked that Henman seemed quite sanguine about the whole thing. "Am I any other way?" he replied. "I would have preferred to have won, but there's no reason why I shouldn't have a good run at Wimbledon. There's no reason to press any panic buttons.''

Before Henman's defeat yesterday (he is still in the doubles with Pete Sampras), the showcourts were the province of four left-handers, Goran Ivansevic against Britain's Martin Lee on the Centre Court and Rusedski versus Draper on Court No 1.

Rusedski was in splendid form against Draper, defeating the talented Australian, 6-3, 6-2. "I was just more relaxed today," Rusedski said, reporting no twinges from the wrist injury which had interrupted his impresssive run of success in the United States earlier in the year, including back-to-back wins against Michael Chang and Andre Agassi.

Lee had what is best described as a learning experience against the big- serving Ivanisevic, the No 3 seed. The first set disappeared in only 18 minutes as the 19-year-old from Worthing attempted to pick out his opponent's deliveries.

"It was impossible to return, because I haven't been used to playing against that speed of serve," Lee said, acknowledging that practising with Rusedski had helped a little. Goran's serve is even bigger," he said,

QUARTER-FINAL LINE-UP: Sampras v Bjorkman, Knippschild v Philippoussis, Golmard v Ivanisevic, Rafter v Rusedski.

Venus Williams, the 16-year-old American tennis prodigy, has turned down a wild card into next week's Direct Line Insurance women's championship at Eastbourne because she wants to get extra practice by qualifying for the main draw.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower