Tim Henman last night let slip a one-set lead as he lost to rising star Novak Djokovic at the ABN AMRO tournament here. The British No1 had been hoping for a good run in the event, having three times reached the final here, but the world No 72 from Serbia and Montenegro - who like Henman was a losing semi-finalist in Zagreb earlier this month - fought back to book a place in the last eight, winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Henman let one break-point chance slip in the first game, and the next opportunity did not arise until the ninth game, when the 18-year-old Djokovic once again held serve to lead 5-4. Henman held serve and then made it third time lucky by taking Djokovic to deuce and edging the game to lead 6-5. He made hard work of sealing the set though, having to save three break points before converting the first set-point chance which came his way.
A break in the sixth game of the second set gave Djokovic the edge and he pressed home his advantage to win it 6-3. Henman, who was forced out of the ATP event in Marseilles last week with a back problem, was unable to make ground in the decider as Djokovic won it 6-4. Djokovic will now go on to face Radek Stepanek, of the Czech Republic, in the quarter-finals.