Henman out of sorts but in the next round

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The Independent Online

If there are three Gorans, then there must be at least two Tim Henmans – the pair we saw in their twin guises stumbling into the last 32 of the Nasdaq-100 Open here.

The British No 1 may have had the excuse of being outplayed by Lleyton Hewitt in the Indian Wells final a week ago, but here he did his best to beat himself. Fortunately, his German opponent, Lars Burgsmuller, was unable to help push him over the edge, and the topsy-turvy Henman prevailed, 6-1 1-6 6-3.

Bergsmuller, a slightly bandy qualifier, ranked No 81 in the ATP tournament entry system, was entitled to come into the second-round match with more confidence than he displayed. He had, after all, beaten Henman in straight sets in their only previous meeting, albeit on a slow clay court in Hamburg last year. Moreover, he won a title in Copenhagen last month.

Instead, the 26-year-old German hit two double-faults for 1-2 in his opening service game, and the fifth-seeded Henman was able to settle into his stride and pick Burgsmuller off for the remainder of the opening set. That achieved, Henman seemed impelled to impersonate his opponent thoughout the second set.

A variety of errors pinged from Henman's racket as he lost the first four games. He was then unable to take any of four break points at 1-4, Burgsmuller fighting through six deuces to hold. Henman, disappointed after failing to gain a foothold in the set, was broken in the seventh game, double-faulting on the third set point.

The roles reversed again at the start of the final set, Henman taking the opening eight points and going on to win the first four games. Burgsmuller, having held for 1-4, then saw Henman self-destruct in the next game. double-faulting first on a game point and then on a break point.

Both men then held to love, and Henman finally showed his positive face to make the decisive break with a smash on his second match point. Henman's third-round opponent is the Spaniard Felix Mantilla, whom he has beaten twice in three matches, the defeat coming on clay.

Greg Rusedski, blown off course by Andre Agassi, the defending champion, in cool, wet, windy conditions of Friday evening, says he will sit back and think of Wimbledon for a few days before pushing his body through a rigorous training regimen in the gym and in the mountains.

Agassi made the best of Friday's conditions, which replicated Wimbledon without the grass courts, dispatching the British No 2 in only 46 minutes, 6-3 6-1. The players spent longer than that in the locker room during rain delays. "It seemed like he had 100 hours to pick where he wanted to hit his passing shot, or his lob, or whatever he wanted to do with the ball," Rusedski said, admiring the court-craft of his opponent, who, a month before his 32nd birthday, played with as much zest as ever. Renowned for the pace and accuracy of his returns, the mark of Agassi's display against Rusedski was that he dropped only five points on serve.

"He reads a play probably a second faster than most people, and sees the ball a fraction earlier," said Rusedski, who has lost seven of his nine matches against the Las Vegan. "He's kept himself in good shape."

Lleyton Hewitt, the top seed, successfully negotiated a difficult opening match, defeating Paradorn Srichaphan, of Thailand, 7-6 7-5.

A week ago, Daniela Hantuchova, of Slovakia, won her first WTA singles title in Indian Wells, accounting for Justine Henin in the fourth round and Martina Hingis in the final. Hantuchova was unable to continue that form in her opening match, losing to Cara Black, of Zimbabwe, a former Wimbledon junior champion, 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Henin, the sixth seed, was also eliminated early, beaten by Anna Smashnova, of Israel, 6-7 6-3 6-4.

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