Tennis: Henman takes another step on the road to Hannover

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The Independent Online
TIM HENMAN has climbed to his highest-ever world ranking position of nine in the latest ATP list announced yesterday, despite his heavy defeat by Pete Sampras in the quarter-finals of the CA Trophy in Vienna.

Greg Rusedski, who was a semi-finalist in Vienna, has jumped four places, from 17 to 13, a welcome boost for the British No 2 who has been struggling to regain his best form since suffering an ankle injury in June. Henman has gone up just one place, having overtaken the Russian, Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

More importantly, though, he has improved his chances of making the ATP World Championship in Hannover next month. Only eight players compete in the German contest and the Oxford man is in the final position on that list at the moment with 2,427 points. He is now 313 points ahead of the Czech, Petr Korda, who is in ninth place, and exactly 400 points in front of the Dutchman, Richard Krajicek, who is 10th.

Henman is resting this week before playing in the Stuttgart and Paris Mercedes Super 9 tournaments, which should decide whether he will qualify for Hanover.

The women's Kremlin Cup, which starts today, has lost some of its sparkle with the absence of the world No 1, Lindsay Davenport, and the defending champion, Jana Novotna.

The world No 5, Venus Williams of the United States, is top seed in the $1 million (pounds 588,000) tournament after Davenport pulled out with an arm injury. The tournament also lost France's Nathalie Tauziat and Dominique Van Roost, of Belgium, through injury and fatigue. Top players who are making the journey to Moscow include Monica Seles, Conchita Martinez and Patty Schnyder, of Switzerland, who will receive first-round byes. Organisers are upset at the withdrawal of Davenport, who beat Williams to win the European Open on Sunday.

Gene Scott, director of the men's Kremlin Cup, said: "She pulled out on Friday, saying she is injured, and then played two more matches [in Zurich]. In the men's competition she would face a stiff fine for her action."

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