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
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine