Henman upsets defending champion Sampras

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The Independent Online

Tim Henman beat Pete Sampras for the first time in his career to advance to the quarter finals of the Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati.

Tim Henman beat Pete Sampras for the first time in his career to advance to the quarter finals of the Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati.

Henman, the No. 15 seed, won 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday night.

"Tim was playing great," Sampras said. "He was serving great and making unbelievable passing shots. He just outplayed me in just about every area."

Sampras, the defending champion and No.2 seed, had been 6-0 against Henman.

"It's very satisfying," Henman said of the breakthrough. "It's been a long time coming."

Sampras appeared to struggle throughout the match, at one point calling for a trainer and an aspirin. But he refused to make excuses and said there was no physical problem.

"There's always a little pain. Today, I think it was in the head," Sampras said.

Sampras played a late match Wednesday night, beating Taylor Dent in two tiebreakers.

"I had plenty of time to recover," Sampras said. "I just came out a little bit flat and Tim played great."

In an earlier match, Fernando Vicente was out to prove that his victory over top-seeded Andre Agassi was no fluke.

The 23-year-old Spaniard rallied for six consecutive points in the third-set tiebreaker to upset No. 16 Mark Philippoussis of Australia.

Vicente's 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) victory gives credence to his contention that he could have beaten Agassi even if the No. 1 seed had not retired with back problems. It was one set apiece when Agassi retired Wednesday.

"Everybody said I only won because he was injured," Vicente said. "People think I was lucky. I knew I was going to win that match, the way it was going."

Never mind that Agassi won the first set and then his play dropped off sharply after his back stiffened in the second set.

"I took good confidence from that match," Vicente said. "I played better today."

Philippoussis said he was not as aggressive as he should have been after taking a 4-1 lead in the crucial tiebreaker.

"I should not have let it get away from me. It's not like this is my first year on the tour," Philippoussis said. "I have no excuses at all."

Philippoussis served 27 aces to seven by Vicente. But he surrendered his power advantage in the tie-breaker and later second-guessed his strategy.

"I should have hit it and come in, be aggressive and make him pass me," Philippoussis said. "I'm very disappointed, especially being up 4-1; I didn't make him play."

No. 7 Thomas Enqvist of Sweden and Fabrice Santoro of France were forced to play two matches because of Wednesday's rainouts.

Santoro started the morning session by beating Sebastian Grosjean of France 6-2, 6-3 and later beat No. 8 Marat Safin of Russia, the winner last week at Masters Series-Canada, 6-1, 7-6 (3).

Enqvist beat Harel Levy of Israel, the runner-up last week in Toronto, 6-4, 6-1 and later beat Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4, 6-3.

"I had two pretty easy matches," Enqvist said. "I mean easy if you look at it time-wise. So I didn't really feel tired in the second match."

Both could have had a medical excuse for poor play in even one match.

Enqvist had to withdraw from the tournament in Toronto last week because of a foot problem. Santoro broke the middle finger of his racket hand less than four weeks ago.

"But after I wear a cast for two weeks, and after that the doctor said now you don't have to ... if you strap your finger, you can go play," Santoro said. "So there is no reason why not."

In other third-round matches, No. 4 Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil beat Stefan Koubek of Austria 1-6, 6-1, 6-2; Todd Martin beat Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden 6-2, 6-4; Arnaud Clement of France beat No. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia 6-4, 6-1; and No. 13 Franco Squillari of Argentina beat Slava Dosedel of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5.

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