Tennis: Henman the high-roller

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The success story of Tim Henman shows no signs of stopping as he clinched his third ATP Tour final appearance of the year with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Germany's Marc Goellner in the European Community Champ- ionship yesterday.

The match was punctuated by unforced errors from both men, but was settled by two vital breaks for the British No 1, who won his first ATP title in the Sydney Open last month.

Henman, who practises with the British-based Goellner in London, showed his competitive edge once again when he broke his opponent in the first game of the match and despite a few scares held his own serve to claim the first set.

The Briton, ranked No 19 in the world, repeated the formula in the second set, but then surrendered his own serve in the very next game. However, the 22-year-old from Oxford stepped up a gear in the fifth before serving out for victory in just over an hour.

After a relatively easy route to the final, Henman, who is likely to move up to at least 15th in next week's rankings even if he does not win the title, was pleased to have dispatched a dangerous opponent. "This match was a big improvement," he said afterwards. "I had one hiccup in the match, when I lost serve in the second game of the second set. Perhaps I could have closed the match out faster.

"But this was the best of the matches that I have played this week. I hope there is still some improvement for the final."

Henman, the only seed to reach the semi-finals, will be the favourite in today's final against Switzerland's former Olympic champion, Marc Rosset, No 23 in the rankings, who beat the Czech Petr Korda, 7-6, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

Andrew Baker, page 16