Tennis: Henman hits new heights

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Tim Henman, ranked No 79 in the world, had one of the best wins of his career when he beat Jan Siemerink of the Netherlands 7-6, 7-6 in the first round of the ATP Tour event in Rotterdam yesterday.

Henman, the 21-year-old from Oxford, won the first tie-break 8-6 and the second 11-9 against the world No 22.

Players gain bonus points for beating higher-ranked players so Henman could go above his previous best world ranking of 78 when the next list is published on Monday.

Jeremy Bates, the former British No 1 from Surrey, and Southampton's Chris Wilkinson both won their opening matches in the ATP Challenger in Stockholm in convincing style.

Bates, now 33 and intending to retire after Wimbledon this year, beat Australia's Richard Fromberg 6-3, 7-5, while Wilkinson, also a former British No 1, defeated Yahiya Doumbia, of Senegal, 6-3 6-3.

In contrast, Danny Sapsford, another Surrey player, was decisively beaten 6-3, 6-0 by Sweden's Patrik Fredriksson in his first-round match.

Steffi Graf, out of action with a foot injury since winning the WTA Tour Championships in November, has entered the Evert Cup which starts today in Indian Wells, California.

Now co-ranked No 1 with Monica Seles, Graf joins a field including Seles, Conchita Martinez, Gabriela Sabatini, Kimiko Date, Anke Huber, Mary Joe Fernandez, Lindsay Davenport and Chanda Rubin. Graf won the Evert Cup in 1994, the last time she competed in Indian Wells.