Tennis: Henman has cruise into quarter-finals

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The Independent Online
TIM HENMAN yesterday eased into the quarter-finals of the Swiss Indoor Tournament in Basle with a straight-sets victory over the Moroccan Hicham Arazi. The British No 1 is one of only two seeds still in the draw after beating his left-handed opponent, 6-4, 7-6.

Henman, the sixth seed who has joined the American fourth seed Andre Agassi in the last eight, will face either the American Jeff Tarango, of the United States, or the German Nicolas Kiefer. "I felt like I had to play as consistently as I could. He hit some great shots, but sometimes he could miss some easy ones," Henman said.

Arazi, a player yet to realise his potential, gave the eventual champion Pat Rafter a scare in the first round of the US Open before throwing away a two-set lead and losing in five.

Henman fought back from 0-30 to lead 5-4 in the first set and used the momentum to gain the only break of the match and capture the first set 6-4. When the second set went to a tie-break, Henman won a mini-break to go up 2-1, eventually defeating his opponent by taking it 7-4. Arazi never put Henman in serious trouble and had only one chance to break the world No 11.

"I was really happy with how I served, with only one break point against me. I made a lot of first serves at important times," Henman said

Greg Rusedski, the defending champion, exited earlier in the day, losing to a player he beat on his way to last year's title. The British No 2 lost to the German David Prinosil, 7-6, 7-5, in a display which saw little of his trademark big serving.

"I didn't take advantage early on," Rusedski said. "But David deserved to win. I think the slower court favoured him. It is favouring the back- courters, but that's no excuse."

Rusedski had few comfortable service games. He had to save four break points in his first two and was broken in the seventh game. Prinosil served for the set at 5-4 and had two set points at 40-15, but Rusedski chose the moment to play some of his best tennis and scraped back to 5-5. Yet the first-set tie-break went to the German 7-4 as Rusedski's first serve once against let him down.

When the Briton broke for 3-2 in the second set and held serve for 4- 2, he looked to be in his stride, but promptly lost eight points as Prinosil fought back to 4-4. By the time Rusedski served to stay in the match at 5-6, he was struggling and the German sealed victory on his second match point.