Tennis: The solidity of Bailey allows hurried Henman no chance: Former world No 1 continues her rehabilitation as three Britons reach semi-finals in Bristol Challenger

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The Independent Online
CHRIS BAILEY brushed aside a pounding headache to sweep into the semi-finals of the men's singles at the Bristol Challenger Trophy yesterday. Bailey will today face the British No 1 and top seed, Jeremy Bates, who yesterday beat Mark Petchey 7-6, 7-5.

Bailey needed painkillers midway through yesterday's second set to help him cope with his discomfort. 'It was a little irritating,' the 25-year-old British No 3 said. Yet he gave Tim Henman, an 18-year-old from Oxfordshire playing in his first tournament at Challenger level, little room for manoeuvre as he marched to a 6-2, 6-1 victory in only 49 minutes.

'Tim rushed a bit too much and let me get into a rhythm but I think he has a bright future,' Bailey said. 'But I don't think I did much wrong today. It was a pretty solid performance.'

Bailey revealed that he is set to sign another sponsorship deal on Monday to add to the backing of Schweppes and Chrysalis, who came forward with support for him following his stirring Centre Court battle with Goran Ivanisevic at this year's Wimbledon.

'The deals have secured my future for as long as I want to play,' Bailey said. 'But I have to keep it in perspective and remember that I lost the match against Goran.'

Chris Wilkinson, the second seed, also continued the form he showed at Wimbledon when he overcame the local challenge of Nick Gould, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, 6-3, 6-2.

In the semi-finals, Wilkinson will face the fourth seed, Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, who defeated the American, Alex Reichel, 6-2, 6-3.