Henman defies age to continue Spanish march

It is the autumn of his career but there is a spring in Tim Henman's step. The 32-year-old British No 2, fresh from his run to the final in Tokyo earlier this month, beat a higher-ranked Spaniard for the second day in succession here last night to reach the third round of the Madrid Masters, a tournament in which he had never previously won two matches in a row.

Although he had swept aside Fernando Verdasco, the world No 26, in straight sets the previous night, Henman's 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory over David Ferrer was even more impressive. Even if Ferrer has been in poor form recently, the world No 15 has been one of the most consistent players this year, reaching the quarter-finals or better of four Masters series tournaments.

Henman, the world No 41, let his level slip in the second set, but played beautifully in the first and third, serving with pace and variety, volleying with his usual fine touch and looking especially dangerous on the return. At times he was standing two feet inside the baseline on Ferrer's second serve and the 24-year-old Spaniard was continually flummoxed by Henman's supremely confident chip-and-charge game.

"It's a tactic that's been working really well," Henman said. "The vast majority of these guys don't like it. When you come in time and time again and put the pressure on, they just don't have time to breathe and find the rhythm that they're accustomed to.

"Even when I lost the second set, I still played some good tennis. And whenever I was getting a chance to come forward and put pressure on him, I knew it was something that he didn't like. It was fantastic. I couldn't be happier."

While Ferrer described it as one of the worst days of his career, Henman enjoyed himself so much that he occasionally looked up between points to see the replay on the big TV screen. "In the past I've been the one saying, 'Turn it off', because it's a distraction," Henman said. "Now I hit a couple of good shots and I quite fancy seeing them again."

Henman jarred a knee and had blisters on his toes, but he has a rest day before tomorrow's third-round match against David Nalbandian, who last night defeated Julien Benneteau of France, 6-7, 6-2, 7-5.

Home advantage clearly did not help Ferrer. Indeed, there were large gaps in the crowd, many locals having deserted the main arena to watch Rafael Nadal play doubles on an adjoining court.

Ferrer failed to convert three break points in the opening game and from 1-1 Henman won five games in succession. He played a loose second set but quickly resumed control in the third, breaking serve twice to go 3-0 up. He sealed victory in appropriate fashion, Ferrer netting a forehand in the face of another chip-and-charge onslaught.

The second day's proceedings had been delayed by 45 minutes because of rain, which could well be a first for an indoor event. Water had got on to the court after heavy overnight downpours.

At least the first match finished quickly. Gaël Monfils was a set up against Dominik Hrbaty when he retired hurt with an ankle injury. The 20-year-old Frenchman celebrated a winning point at 2-2 in the second set by leaping into the air but crumpled to the floor on landing and strained his right ankle. After a delay of several minutes he left in a wheelchair.

Roger Federer, playing here for the first time for three years, and Andy Roddick opened with straightforward victories over Nicolas Massu and Sébastien Grosjean respectively.

Suggested Topics
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
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.

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor