Henman resilient under pressure


Tim Henman continued to demonstrate why he is regarded as Britain's brightest hope when he produced a gallant performance to upset the No 16 seed, Javier Frana, and reach the second round of the Stella Artois grass-court championships yesterday.

Frana is unusual in that he is an Argentinian who favours grass over clay. A committed serve and volleyer, he proved an ideal opponent for Henman to test himself against. There was little to choose between their games, but Frana definitely had the edge in size and strength.

In the end that advantage was cancelled out by Henman's resilience under pressure, and his ability to lift his game when he most needed to, rather than slump into defeat when the going got tough.

Henman began by taking a 3-0 lead, was broken back in the fifth game and held a set point at 6- 5, which he lost when he hit a poor return. Frana took the tie-break and swiftly built a 3-0 lead in the second.

Frana though had problems with his serve, and Henman took advantage. The Argentinian twice double-faulted to set up break points, and on both occasions Henman accepted his opportunity. In the final set Henman sneaked ahead 4-3, double-faulted to lose his serve, but kept his head, broke again and served out for the match.

"I was anxious to perform well, and to perform well and win is a bonus," Henman said. "When you're 3-0 down in the second set you've got your back against the wall, but the chances I was having I knew I would take them eventually." If Henman defeats the Russian Andrei Olhovskiy today, he will face Thomas Muster, the top seed and world No 2, in the third round.

The Austrian won his first tournament match on grass when he beat France's Guillaume Raoux 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 after two and a half hours. ``I really enjoyed playing. I have no pressure on this surface because nobody has any expectations of me," Muster said.

"It's the low bounce that gives me a problem. Nothing comes by instinct. It's quite hard work for me, but I played well and it gives me confidence for my next matches."

Chris Wilkinson was unfortunate to draw Guy Forget in the opening round, and was dismissed 6-2, 7-6. Forget's pedigree at Queen's is excellent. Last year the elegant Frenchman beat Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic before losing the final to Pete Sampras in two tie-breaks without dropping his serve, and he looked in equally good form yesterday.

Although he produced nine aces, his first serve was not quite up to scratch, but for a player who was involved in the French Open up until the final weekend, finishing as runner-up in the doubles event, a rough edge or two could be forgiven.

Boris Becker, playing his first match since injuring a thigh muscle which forced him to miss the French Open, eased to a 6-4, 6-2 win over a qualifier Chris Haggard, who was playing in his first ATP tour event. Now, the injury is fine.

"At this stage I can say that everything is perfect. It took two weeks of treatment in Munich, and I came to Queen's last week and have been hitting balls for 10 days now. It's very good to be back on grass," he said.

Most of the wild cards for Wimbledon have been announced, with places going to Chris Wilkinson, Danny Sapsford, Mark Petchey, Jeremy Bates, Nick Gould and Luke Milligan. With no British women ranked highly enough for direct entry, the beneficiaries are Clare Wood, Samantha Smith, Rachel Viollett and Megan Miller.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?