The Federer express runs over Henman

World No 1 just too strong, too quick and too good for Britain's outclassed No 1

It was wonderful while it lasted, dodgy back and all, but Tim Henman's challenge at the US Open here ended in defeat by Roger Federer in the semi-finals, 6-3 6-4 6-4, after an hour and 46 minutes.

The Swiss world No 1 will today try to add the title in New York to those he won at Wimbledon and in Melbourne to become the first man to win three of the four Grand Slam championships in a season since Mats Wilander, of Sweden, in 1988. Well though Federer is playing, he is likely to be given a stern test by the fourth seed, Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 champion, who has not dropped a set and beat Joachim Johansson of Sweden, in yesterday's first semi-final, 6-4 7-5 6-3.

Henman, though thrilling the 22,000 crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium with some splendid examples of the dying art of serve and volley, lacked the consistency with his serving to keep Federer at bay long enough to build a lead. Henman was in philosophical mood afterwards. "I think he showed why he is No 1, " he said. "He was just too good on the day. He's had an unbelievable year and I think tomorrow it will get better. He was different class. He is so complete. He is setting the standard for people now." Asked the condition of his lower back problem Henman said: "Much better. He [Federer] had a lot more to do with my problems."

There were moments in the opening set when Henman got by without a second serve - he held to love for 2-2 without making a first serve - but Federer rarely lost his look of confidence.

One time he did was when Henman struck back immediately after being broken for 2-4, Federer driving to a corner of the court at 15-40. Henman responded by winning the opening three points of the next game with an impressive array of shots. Federer saved the first break point with a deep backhand volley - and then double-faulted, his second serve taking a cruel deflection off the net cord. Unfortunately for Henman's British supporters, and the thousands of Americans who had warmed to his attacking style, Federer restored his lead by breaking for 5-3 with a sizzling forehand cross-court pass. Federer then served out the set after 29 minutes.

The most spectacular game of the match came with Henman receiving at 2-1 in the second set. He took Federer to deuce three times before the Swiss held with an ace. A sense that Henman's tournament was coming to a close intensified after he double-faulted to 3-4.

Confirmation came when Federer broke in the opening game of the third set, after which Henman's winning shots were rarer. He was broken a second time, for 1-4, but managed to delay Federer momentarily by breaking as the maestro served for the match at 5-2 and had his first match point. Two games later, however, Federer was on his way to the meeting with Hewitt. The Australian was too experienced and accomplished for Johansson. Hewitt worked patiently, absorbing his opponent's big serve, anticipating the aggressive forehand and using his footwork to stay out of trouble.

Hewitt put pressure on Johansson's serve in the second game, the Swede having to save a break point at 30-40 after hitting a forehand long. Johansson rescued himself with a service winner. Hewitt made errors from 40-0 in the fifth game, and, at deuce, Johansson drove a forehand down the line to create an opportunity to take the lead. This time Hewitt's serve came to the rescue. Johansson was taken to deuce in the sixth game, but neither player prospered until the Swede served to stay in the set at 4-5. Hewitt took the opening three points of the game by virtue of the sharpness of his returns. The Australian netted a backhand on the first set-point. Johansson hit a smash wide on the second.

The second set went with serve until Johansson, serving at 5-6 to try and force a tie-break, was unsettled by a Hewitt volley, at 15-15, and was unable to make a steady response, missing a forehand at 15-40. Hewitt, fairly restrained until that point, let out a roar of "C'mon!" and pumped an arm. His sister, Jaslyn, who is Johansson's girlfriend, contrived an air of circumspection in a neutral guest box.

The third set followed a similar pattern, Hewitt winning the final eight points. He broke to love for 5-3, and served out to love after an hour and 59 minutes. After letting out another yell, Hewitt shook hands with his friend Johansson, whose 17 aces were not enough to turn the contest, and then left the court to be greeted by his fiancée, Kim Clijsters, whose injured wrist prevented her from entering the women's singles.

"It was definitely a bit awkward, with my parents in one box and Jaslyn in another," Hewitt said. "I just put a professional cap on and went out there and played."

sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing