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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea