Tennis: Henman shows his pedigree in adversity

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The Independent Online
Tim Henman reached his second semi-final in less than a week when he recovered from a set down to beat American Alex O'Brien 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the Sydney International yesterday.

Once again the British No 1 showed his ability to play well in adversity. Having squandered a 5-2 lead, the second set went into a tie-break and at 3-1 down he appeared to be heading for defeat. But he reeled off the next six points to take the set.

It was the second match running that Henman had come back from losing the first set. On Tuesday he did the same thing in his success against Spain's Sergi Bruguera.

Afterwards Henman played down the effects of his hectic schedule. "I have played quite a few games in the last few weeks but I still feel full of energy. I am definitely feeling fitter and moving a lot better around the court," he said.

"I was mainly concerned with preparations for the Australian Open which starts on Monday. I only hope I can continue with my form so far."

Henman now has to contend with the power serving of Goran Ivanisevic, who reached the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Australian wild- card entry Sandon Stolle. Ivanisevic, twice runner-up at Wimbledon, told reporters he was anxious to end the constant questions surrounding his failure to win one of the four Grand Slam titles.

"Then every time I come to the press conference, nobody has to ask me, `When are you going to win a Grand Slam?'" he said.

In the women's event the American Jennifer Capriati had a 6-4, 6-1 win over her compatriot Amy Frazier. She will meet another American, the fourth- seeded Lindsay Davenport, in the semi-finals. Davenport beat Japan's Naoko Sawamatsu 6-3, 6-7, 6-1.

Martina Hingis set up the enticing prospect of a final with Capriati after beating Indonesia's Yayuk Basuki 7-6 6-1.

Michael Chang avenged his defeat by Boris Becker in last year's Australian Open final with a battling win in the Colonial Classic semi-finals in Melbourne. He beat the German 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, saving three match points in the process.

Three British players, Andrew Richardson, Mark Petchey and Jamie Delgado, all won their first- round matches in the qualifying competition for the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday.

Results, Australian Open seeds,