Confident Henman rubs out Robredo

Tim Henman cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over the Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the first round of the Davidoff SwissIndoor Championship in Basle yesterday.

Tim Henman cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over the Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the first round of the Davidoff SwissIndoor Championship in Basle yesterday.

The British No 1 came into the tournament bursting with confidence after his CA Trophy final win a fortnight ago. He has an impressive record in Basle, beating Andre Agassi to take the title two years ago and losing to the Slovakian Karol Kucera in last year's final.

Henman, the No 4 seed, proved far too strong for his 18-year-old opponent, but predicted a bright future for the rising Spanish player. "He has a pretty good all round game and this time next year, the way the Spanish players tend to evolve, he will probably be in the top 30," said Henman.

"This is a surface I enjoy," he added. "It's a court that allows me to use my full game."

"It was nice coming into a tournament as a winner," Henman continued. "I played well in patches and average in others. But I'm playing better now than I was at this time last year."

The No 2 seed, Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, edged out the American Jan-Michael Gambill in two tie-breaks. Despite serving 20 aces, the 29th-ranked Gambill was unable to gain the advantage needed to overcome Enqvist, squandering seven set points on the way. He lost the first set tie-break 14-12, and the second 7-5 in a match rich with solid groundstrokes and dazzling returns.

"It's tough to return his serve, which is incredibly strong. I had trouble with it all match," said Enqvist.

In the opening set, the two traded early breaks to remain even at 3-3 and after Gambill had missed two chances to take the Swede's serve once again at 4-3 the set went to a tie-break. The American repeatedly let himself down, failing to convert seven set points, with Enqvist wrapping up the tie-break by wrong-footing Gambill with a stinging cross-court forehand

In the second set, the two stayed neck and neck until Enqvist broke the American to go 5-3. But Gambill stunned the Swede, breaking serve to love and then producing a love service game for eight consecutive points.

With neither able to break through on the other's serve in the final three games, the two once again needed a tie-break to settle the set. Eager to close out the contest, the Swede built up three match points, finally winning when Gambill made an error in a rally.

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