Henman to face Federer after doing it the hard way in thriller

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman won his first-round match at Wimbledon yesterday to set up a tie with the tournament favourite, Roger Federer - but not without his usual trials and tribulations.

Henman let the match against Sweden's Robin Soderling go the distance - five sets and three hours and 14 minutes - before finally winning it 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

The British No 3 held three set points in the first-set tie-break, having earlier failed to convert three break points, but could not capitalise. The 31-year-old, making his 13th appearance at the championships, then served a double-fault at set point down in the tie-break to lose it 10-8.

Henman went level after a line call upset Soderling early in the second set and then came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the third set. Two breaks of serve saw the Briton race into a 4-0 lead. He wrapped up the set and everyone expected him to finish the match. But it would not be Henman at Wimbledon without a few twists and turns, and the fourth set delivered, Henman losing it 6-1.

It was a rejuvenated Henman who then emerged however, racing into a 3-0 lead. He wrapped up victory to set up the meeting with Federer, who beat Richard Gasquet, of France, in straight sets.

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