Henman holds off 'tough' Rusedski

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman admitted that Greg Rusedski had made life difficult for him after beating his compatriot in their second-round match at a cold and rainy Hamburg Masters yesterday.

Tim Henman admitted that Greg Rusedski had made life difficult for him after beating his compatriot in their second-round match at a cold and rainy Hamburg Masters yesterday.

The British No 1 overcame rain, wind and a Rusedski fightback to set up a third-round meeting with Juan Ignacio Chela, of Argentina, after winning in straight sets 7-6, 6-4, his second tour victory over Rusedski this year.

"Greg made it tough for me and I really had to raise my game," Henman said. "We both have good slices but in these conditions the ball was hardly getting up. I had to play good tennis to win."

Rusedski was the first to break serve and claim a 4-3 first-set lead, flashing a backhand volley across court, before Henman failed to make contact with a deep forehand return.

However, Rusedski failed to capitalise as Henman hit back, saving a set point on his opponent's serve with a glorious backhand pass which helped him to break back and make it 5-5. Henman wrapped up the first set, winning the tie-break 7-3 with a string of excellent cross-court forehands.

Rusedski then changed his racket in a desperate attempt to stem the tide as Henman stamped his authority on the match by storming into a 4-0 second-set lead. Although Rusedski fought back to win three consecutive games, Henman held on to one of his two service breaks to clinch a comfortable victory.

* Lleyton Hewitt is a major doubt for the French Open, which begins on 23 May. The Australian former world No 1 suffered a hairline fracture of a rib in a fall at his Sydney home on Monday.

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