Henman defies rain to break Grosjean

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman overcame a second-set slump and two rain delays to beat the 10th seed, Sébastien Grosjean, and move confidently into the third round of the Masters Series event here yesterday.

The British No 1, who has struggled to regain his form since returning from a shoulder injury, had his rhythm interrupted by a rain delay after taking the opening set in emphatic fashion, 6-0. Grosjean levelled the tie at one set all, but Henman broke in the first game of the decider and held on to secure a 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 victory. Henman will now face either the French Open champion Albert Costa or Olivier Rochus in the next round.

This year has been a struggle for Henman, whose win-loss record still reads four wins and six losses after the shoulder injury ruled him out of January's Australian Open and Britain's Davis Cup tie in Sydney. But, with new confidence in his shoulder after his first-round victory over the American Jan-Michael Gambill, Henman was too strong for Grosjean.

The 28-year-old began in complete control and took the first set in faultless fashion, pulling out cross-court passes and inch-perfect backhands. Play was then suspended for 45 minutes, and it knocked Henman out of his stride. When the players returned, Grosjean won his first game of the match to go one up and then forced the crucial break for a 3-1 lead.

In a quest to win back the break, Henman took the seventh game to deuce and then held a break point as Grosjean served for the set. The Frenchman saw off the threat with a serve that clipped the line and tied the match at one set all with an ace down the middle.

Henman, though, was back in the ascendancy and raced into a 3-0 lead, securing the break in the second game. A further rain delay interrupted Henman's flow at 4-1, but this time he re-emerged positively and wrapped up the win with a second break of serve to take the set 6-2.

* Monica Seles pulled out of her second-round match against Nadia Petrova at the Italian Open in Rome yesterday due to a lingering foot injury. Seles was using the event as a clay-court tune up for the French Open, and said she would still attempt to play the Paris grand slam event. Seles had lost the first set 6-3 and was down 4-1 in the second when she decided she had had enough.