Henman's title hopes dashed by Nalbandian

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Tim Henman's hopes of a third Swiss Indoors title came to an end here yesterday when he lost his quarter-final against David Nalbandian in straight sets. The Argentinian - a Wimbledon finalist in 2002 and seeded four for this event - was dominant throughout the match and won 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 24 minutes.

Neither player impressed initially, each making sluggish starts, especially on his own serve. Henman lost his serve in the first game of the match and then failed to convert two break-back points in the next.

When he was unable to hold serve again in the next game the first set was as good as lost, and the British No 1 was into damage-limitation territory. Henman managed at least to get two successful service games under his belt.

However, after his early near miss and another squandered opportunity at break-point in the fourth game, the Briton failed to put Nalbandian under pressure - and it was already looking unlikely that he might add this year's title to his victories here in 1998 and two years ago.

The second set was more evenly contested but Nalbandian was always in control. Henman began it more solidly, holding his serve in the first game and staying in front with serve in the third when he benefited from a friendly call after an overhead appeared to have fallen wide but was instead called good.

Henman kept his nose in front until the seventh game when Nalbandian converted the only break-point of the set after his opponent made himself vulnerable by failing to get his first serve in when he needed to. That put Nalbandian 4-3 up and he kept his composure to hold his serve before closing out the match. Nalbandian meets either Andy Roddick or Olivier Rochus in the semi-final.

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