TENNIS: Henman dismantled by superb Sampras

HE SPORTED a growth of moustache and beard, but there was no disguising the talent of Pete Sampras as the world No 1 and Wimbledon champion dismantled Britain's Tim Henman in the CA Trophy in Vienna last night, 6-0, 6-3, after only 57 minutes. Sampras was superb, and Henman did not help his own cause by failing to serve with authority.

Having won his last two ATP Tour tournaments, the British No 1 was unable to sustain a promising week. He did not show anything like the strength of his recent form until the closing stages of a match that began to run away from him from as early as the second point.

The opening set flashed by in 21 minutes, Henman collecting only eight points on the way. Ranked No 10 in the world, Henman had the misfortune to play Sampras on an occasion when the 27-year-old Californian's form matched his reputation. Embarrassing though it was to watch from a British standpoint, the strokes that flowed from Sampras's racket were a joy. He has rarely played so well all year, except at Wimbledon. It was there that Sampras defeated a game Henman in the semi-finals. This time, on a fast court of powder-blue carpet rather than grass, Sampras's superiority was never in doubt.

The American, who had received the gift of a wild card from Boris Becker in order to enter an event which he hoped would bolster his prospects of ending a sixth consecutive year as the world No 1, was unrecognisable from the player who was beaten by South Africa's Wayne Ferriera in the first round in Basle last week - a tournament Henman won, defeating Andre Agassi in the final last Sunday.

How big a part nerves played in Henman's performance last night is difficult to tell, but he was unable to find consistency with his first serve and was broken at the start of the match. It was the first time his serve had been broken all week, and Sampras is not the man to spurn such incentives.

Sampras produced three aces in winning the second game, and Henman compounded his problems with a double-fault to lose the third. The Briton last lost a set to love against Marcelo Rios when the Chilean was on his way to usurping Sampras as the No 1 at the Lipton Championships in Florida in March. The question this time was whether he would be able to win a game at all.

Relief came at the start of the second set, but only after Henman had double-faulted for 30-30. Consecutive service winners pulled him out of trouble and put a game on his side of the scoreboard.

In his second service game of the set, however, Henman allowed Sampras to attack him again, and found himself a set and a break down after only 33 minutes. It was from this point that Henman began to show signs of his true talent. Unfortunately it was too late, Sampras having gained too much confidence to be denied a straight-sets victory.

Sampras closed the match by breaking Henman again in the ninth game, the Briton handicapping himself with his fourth double-fault on the first point and then being dazzled by two cross-court forehand shots by his opponent. Sampras finished with a masterstroke, an angled backhand half- volley worthy of any arena.

In today's semi-finals Sampras plays his fellow-American Todd Martin, who defeated the Frenchman Cedric Pioline, 6-4, 6-3.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Mobile Engineer - Powered Access

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...

Recruitment Genius: Pharmacy Branch Manager

£19000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This pharmacy group are looking...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This design and print company a...

Recruitment Genius: Lift and Elevator Contract Manager - London

£38000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence