Relief as Henman takes title in style

Tim Henman, so often the bridesmaid in big tournaments in recent years, put a smile back on the face of British tennis in Vienna yesterday when he ended a run of seven losing finals dating back two years to take the CA Trophy.

Tim Henman, so often the bridesmaid in big tournaments in recent years, put a smile back on the face of British tennis in Vienna yesterday when he ended a run of seven losing finals dating back two years to take the CA Trophy.

It was the fifth professional career success for the British No 1, who overcame Tommy Haas of Germany in straight sets, landing his first title since he won in Basle in 1998. In stark contrast to British tennis fortunes as a whole, Vienna has become a by-word for success among the country's élite players. Henman took over the mantle from his Davis Cup team-mate and the British No 2 Greg Rusedski, whose defence of the title ended early, despite an impressive first-round win over Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia.

"It's been a long time coming. It's been a test of one's patience, but to put in a performance like I did today makes it worth it," said Henman, who pounded his chest in an unusual display of emotion after the win. "It's a definite relief, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a relief. On the other hand, I always believed I would win again, I have always had a lot of self-belief."

Henman was certainly on top form yesterday. He took the first set in just 39 minutes and went on to complete his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory in style, a cross-court winner finishing the job after he had hauled his way back to deuce with his tenth ace.

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