Henman stumbles into semi-finals

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman reached the semi-finals of the CA Trophy in Vienna yesterday with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Fernando Vicente, of Spain, in which his sublimetalent was too often mixed with tentativeness.

Tim Henman reached the semi-finals of the CA Trophy in Vienna yesterday with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Fernando Vicente, of Spain, in which his sublimetalent was too often mixed with tentativeness.

Having taken the first set with a single service break, the British No 1 looked to be in complete control at 4-1 in the second set, but he allowed Vicente to break back to 4-4 and the Spaniard looked likely to break again on several occasions. In the tie-break, however, Henman's generally more aggressive play, combined with a number of Vicente errors, allowed the Briton to take his first match point, at 6-3, when Vicente double-faulted. In today's semi-final Henman will play the Swiss player Roger Federer, who easily beat the big-serving Dutchman Richard Krajicek 6-4, 6-3 in his quarter-final. Federer's game was based on excellent returns and he secured the opening set against the former Wimbledon champion with a brilliant drop shot. A quick break for a 2-0 lead in the second set paved the way to victory.

Cedric Pioline also progressed to the semi-finals with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over the local hero, Stefan Koubek. Pioline will face Germany's Olympic silver medallist Tommy Haas, who beat the Frenchman Jerome Golmard in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Koubek and Pioline exchanged breaks twice before the Frenchman won 12 points in a row to clinch the set. Pioline then took control with his strong forehand and breezed through the second set .

In Tokyo, the French Open champion, Gustavo Kuerten, was forced to retire in the Japan Open quarter-finals after feeling dizzy because of influenza, pulling out against the Slovakian No 7 seed Dominik Hrbaty when losing 6-7, 6-2, 3-0.

The Slovak then ran off 10 straight points at the end of the second set and Kuerten never won another game. "I did not have too much power and energy to run all the time," said Kuerten. "I could not go for the shots any more." The Australian Mark Philippoussis also went out of the tournament as Sjeng Schalken swept past him 6-3, 6-2. The Dutch No 12 seed relied on near-perfect baseline play as he secured some revenge against the No 3 seed.

The last time the two met was in the third round of Wimbledon, where Philippoussis won a five-set match that lasted five hours and five minutes - the second-longest singles match in the Open era at the tournament.

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