Henman all-clear on knee problem

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman is confident that he will be 100 per cent fit for next week's Cincinnati Tennis Masters Series event after being dogged by a knee injury in Montreal last week.

The British No 1 was hampered by the slight strain he picked up in winning the Washington Classic as he was defeated by David Nalbandian, of Argentina, in the second round in Canada. However, Henman has now been given the all-clear to continue his US Open build-up with a first-round match against the sixth seed, Guillermo Coria, today.

"The experts say there's nothing to worry about and that it should have completely cleared up by the time the Cincinnati TMS starts," he said. "My knee was a little sore earlier in the week so I had an MRI scan to be on the safe side.

"The soreness was more than likely caused by playing five matches in five days in Washington and not being able to prepare fully for that event due to my tonsillitis. I played a lot of tennis in a fairly short space of time."

Henman faces a tough task against the Argentinian Coria, who has won four titles this year. Coria won their most recent meeting 6-2, 6-1 in Rome this year to avenge a defeat to Henman in Monte Carlo last year.

Andre Agassi has pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters, saying he needs to limit his playing time before the US Open. Agassi's withdrawal leaves the French Open champion, Juan Carlos Ferrero, as the top seed.

Andy Roddick advanced to the final of the Montreal Masters after a tense win over Roger Federer 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 on Saturday, depriving the Wimbledon champion of the chance to take over Agassi's world No 1 ranking. Roddick was due to face Nalbandian in last night's final after the Argentinian rallied from a set down to beat the German Rainer Schüttler 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

In Los Angeles, Kim Clijsters moved a step closer to becoming the world No 1 when she battled past the Italian Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-4 in the semi-finals of the JP Morgan Chase Open on Saturday. The 20-year-old Belgian was due to face Lindsay Davenport in yesterday's final after the American had trounced Ai Sugiyama, of Japan, 6-2, 6-1.

A victory over Davenport last night would have seen Clijsters become the first player to attain the No 1 ranking without winning a Grand Slam title since the WTA Tour introduced their ranking system in 1975.

In Helsinki yesterday, Anna Pistolesi, of Israel, came back from a set down to beat the Croat Jelena Kostanic 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 and win the Helsinki Open title.