Henman left shell shocked after qualifier's fightback

It should have been no surprise to those who have grown used to Tim Henman raising hopes one moment only to dash them the next. Yesterday, however, even the most seasoned of Henman-watchers were rubbing their eyes in disbelief when the 31-year-old Briton lost in the third round of the Nasdaq-100 Open after one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in the history of the game.

Playing Simon Greul, a qualifier ranked No 130 in the world, Henman lost only four points in the first set. The German, however, suddenly found his touch to turn the match on its head and win 0-6, 6-1, 7-5. While Henman dropped beneath the high standards he had set with victories in the first two rounds over Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt, he could be forgiven for being stunned by the astonishing improvement in Greul's game.

Henman described it as the most bizarre match he had ever played. "I'm shocked, bearing in mind the way I played the first set and how badly he played," he admitted.

Greul had had to save two match points in qualifying for his first appearance in a Masters series tournament, but the 24-year-old went on to record good wins over Paradorn Srichaphan and Dominik Hrbaty.

Henman had watched Greul practise on Sunday but probably wondered why he had bothered after winning the first set in 18 minutes. The British No 3 must have felt like he was back playing an opponent from the lower reaches of the Oxfordshire League. Greul, clearly nervous, had three double-faults in his first service game and appeared totally flummoxed by Henman's chip-and-charge tactics and immaculate play.

When Henman put a backhand into the net at 30-0 in the first game of the second set it ended a run of 16 successive winning points. Henman took the game to 15, but the pattern suddenly changed when the Briton hit two service returns long and Greul levelled at 1-1.

The German admitted afterwards that he had felt relieved simply to win one game and at that stage had no thoughts about winning the match. However, he quickly started hitting more cleanly and put Henman on the back foot with the power of his service returns. As his opponent began to make errors, Greul won six games in a row to take the set.

In the final set Henman ended a run of seven losing games by holding serve comfortably and then broke to go 2-1 ahead. At 4-3, however, he played a poor service game and netted a backhand volley at break point, having failed to put away a routine smash. At 5-6 Henman faltered again, Greul clinching victory with a backhand return winner.

"I didn't take anything for granted," Henman said. "I wanted to keep the pressure on. But I missed one forehand I should have made at 1-1 on my serve and all of a sudden I was playing against a different player. To lose like this is pretty tough to swallow."

In the women's competition Svetlana Kuznetsova became the first player to reach the quarter-finals when Patty Schnyder withdrew with an ankle injury. On Sunday, Kuznetsova knocked out Martina Hingis, winning 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 in a hard-hitting contest.

Maria Sharapova was below her best but beat fellow Russian teenager Maria Kirilenko, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Tatiana Golovin shocked Elena Dementieva, who won only three games against the 18-year-old Frenchwoman, while China's Jie Zheng beat Jill Craybas in three sets.

* Bjorn Borg has decided not to sell his Wimbledon trophies and rackets. He has withdrawn them from sale, having been touched by the sympathetic reaction of the public to his earlier decision to go to auction.


Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map