Tennis: Henman is sunk by his own errors

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The Independent Online
TIM HENMAN faltered when serving for a place in the final of the Champions' Cup here last night and in the end was beaten by the inspired Chris Woodruff, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5.

Henman produced two double faults when he appeared to have the match in his grasp at 5-4 and found himself 0-40 down. He fought back to deuce but squandered his only match point. The let-off inspired Woodruff, the revelation of the week, to reproduced the kind of tennis that had seen him rip through the opening set. He held serve for 6-5 and always had the edge in Henman's next service game and just 15 minutes after serving for the match himself, Henman was beaten, Woodruff winning on his second match point.

Henman was stung by the aggression and accuracy of his opponent in the first set. Woodruff, ranked 550th in the world after playing only one match last season because of a knee injury, was in fine form all week and although Britain's No 1 was confident after beating Greg Rusedski on Thursday, he had his serve broken in the second game.

Clearly troubled by the high temperatures, Henman then saved six break points in the fourth game but eventually lost that too as Woodruff went on to win the set 6-1 after 42 minutes. Henman had made 21 unforced errors.

Henman had at least managed to hold serve for the first time before accepting his fate in the first set and also went a game up on his own serve at the start of the second, which saw fortunes reversed. His first break came in the next game when the American double-faulted, and when Henman went 3-0 up he was in command.

He levelled the match by taking the set 6-1, breaking again in the sixth game and then holding his nerve and his serve. The improvement was reflected in his unforced errors being cut to nine.

The final set was much tighter but Henman looked set for victory when he broke for 5-4. Then came double-faults number eight and nine and after two hours and 11 minutes is title hopes disappeared.

In the parallel women's tournament, the Evert Cup, Serena Williams powered past France's Sandrine Testud 7-5 6-0 to book her place in the Evert Cup final and avenge a third-round Australian Open defeat. She will meet fifth- seeded German Steffi Graf in today's final.

Williams, 17, who won her first WTA Tour title in Paris last month, won in one hour and five minutes. She won the last eight games of the match - breaking Testud in the 12th game to lift the opening set and losing just five points in the entire second set. Graf beat the unseeded American Chanda Rubin, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday.