Enqvist breezes past Henman to finals

Second-seeded Thomas Enqvist of Sweden trounced fourth-seeded Tim Henman of Britain in straight sets today to advance to the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland where he will meet hometown hero Roger Federer.

Second-seeded Thomas Enqvist of Sweden trounced fourth-seeded Tim Henman of Britain in straight sets today to advance to the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland where he will meet hometown hero Roger Federer.

In a riveting clash between two 19-year-olds, a gritty Federer saved a match point before toppling third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6) in a two and half hour nail-biter.

The 26-year-old Enqvist, making his first appearance since injuring his foot in Vienna two weeks ago, collected 14 break points on way to expunging the Briton 6-1, 6-3, ending Henman's eight match winning streak.

"In the final I have to beware. Roger can be a tough player," said Enqvist, whose only title this year came at the Tennis Masters Series event in Cincinnati in August. "He knows how to win against top players. We've seen it before."

Federer, still looking for his first career title, clinched his place in the final with an ace, sending the home crowd into a frenzy as it raised the roof with cheers worthy of a Grand Slam final and threw cushions onto the court in unadulterated joy.

"It was the most unbelievable match of my career," said Federer. "To play at home and turn it around after losing to him the last three times is incredible.

"And to close out my last three wins with aces is icing on the cake."

Enqvist and Federer have only met once before in the second round in Adelaide last January, with the Swede winning 7-6 (5), 6-4. But that doesn't worry the Swiss.

"All the guys I won against this week I had lost to," said Federer. "I seem to be coming back from a losing streak. I hope it continues tomorrow."

In the early semifinal, Henman struggled with his service game throughout the match, and only managed to hold serve for the first time when he was down 2-0 in the second set.

The two traded breaks early in the opening set to remain 2-1 but Enqvist immediately jumped ahead again, breaking the Briton with a spectacular return passing shot to go 3-1. Enqvist collected another three break points at 4-1 to take Henman's serve again and put the set out of reach.

In the second, the Swede again collected three break points to steal Henman's opening serve. Though the Briton managed to hold on to his next three serves, it wasn't enough to slow the Swede, who broke again at 5-3 to wrap up the set and match with a cross court backhand shot.

"It was easier than I expected. But it was still tough to stay concentrated all match," said Enqvist. "I had to take a few minutes to calm down, especially when you are playing such a good player as Tim who could turn the match around even down so much."

While Henman has traditionally done well in Basel, winning the title in 1998 and reaching the final last year, it marks the first time in eight appearances that Enqvist has advanced beyond the second round.

Saturday's victory boosted the Swede's chances of qualifying for the Tennis Master's Cup, an elite eight-player event in Portugal in November. With four weeks to go, Enqvist is in ninth place, Henman in 10th.

In the other semifinal, Hewitt started in dominant fashion, quickly breaking to take a 3-1 lead, but then suddenly appeared to lose all concentration, allowing Federer to win the next five games and the opening set.

With the Australian finding his rhythm again in the second set, both players clung tenaciously to their serves, with Federer saving five break points to stay at 3-3 and Hewitt fighting off three to remain on serve at 4-3.

Displaying his usual intensity, Hewitt finally produced the first break of the set at 4-3, then served for the match. But the cheeky Swiss immediately broke back, narrowing the gap to 5-4 then holding to even the score.

However, after a love service game, with the crowd lending him as much support as their own player, Hewitt delivered the fatal break, sending the match into a third set.

Both refusing to give an inch, the two traded sets at 2-2, with Federer saving a match point at 4-5, driving a brilliant shot down the line despite cracking the ball with the frame of his racket.

Not about to squander his chance when it came up in the tiebreak, the Swiss delivered a scorching ace to post his first victory in four encounters with the Australian.

"I felt I only played my best tennis in patches, that's what was most disappointing," said Hewitt, who also criticized the officiating. "But it was a fantastic match for the crowd, so close and exciting."

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone