Henman finds his form at last

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman intends to "finish the job" today after reaching the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic with a fine win over Andy Roddick here last night.

The British No 1 recovered from a set down to reach his first final for over a year with a 1-6 6-3 7-6 win over the American second seed. It was a remarkable performance from 28-year-old Henman, who was playing against big-serving Roddick for the first time.

He will now face the world No 1 Andre Agassi or Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, the fourth seed, in the final. "It's been a tough 12 months. My shoulder problems have been well documented but I'm glad to put that behind me and concentrate on tennis," said Henman. "I felt happy in the third set. There were no breaks of serve. I lost the first point of the tie-break to an ace but then won the next seven points so I can't complain about that.

"It's going to be a tough match whoever I play in the final but I'm looking forward to being back in a final and finishing the job tomorrow."

Henman, seeded 10th, was swept aside in the first set in only 25 minutes but recovered his composure to level the match in the second as the American lost his first set of the tournament and, it seemed, his composure.

Roddick, winner of the tournament in 2001 and victor in 23 of his last 25 matches, held match-point in the third but Henman again hit back and raced through the tie-break to continue his fine start to the American hard- court season.

Henman is now one victory away from winning his first ATP title since his triumph in Adelaide in January last year. It will be his first final since the Stella Artois Championship at Queen's in summer 2001.

Henman is enjoying his build-up to the US Open away from the intense media coverage that he received during the Wimbledon fortnight.

"It's one of the appealing things about coming to the States after Wimbledon. I can get on with things when not the focus of attention. I have still played relatively few tournaments this year and it has taken a while to recover my form. This is a great tournament. It is only the second time I have played here and it is good to be through to the final," he said.

Agassi won through to the semis by avenging last year's defeat by James Blake. The world No 1 outlasted his fellow American 3-6 7-5 6-3. Agassi needed one hour 49 minutes to dispose of Blake. The 33-year-old slammed 12 aces while his opponent hit eight.