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2004 Mar 02 - Henman falls at 1st hurdle in Dubai

Tim Henman suffered a shock defeat in round one of the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open in Dubai, U.A.E, losing 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) to the unseeded qualifier Tomas Zib of the Czech Republic.

The first set was uncomfortable for Tim as he lost an serve early on and couldn't seem to find his comfort zone. The break proved costly as the Czech held on to take the set 6-4.

In the second set Tim raised his game, quickly breaking Tomas' serve and rushing to a 3-0 lead. With the next two games going with serve Tim just needed to hold for a towering 5-1 lead, but a courageous Tomas had other ideas and recovered the break to narrow deficit 4-2 and then holding his own serve for 4-3. The British No.1 then upped the ante once more, and this time without a response, as he took the next two games to wrap up the set 6-4 and send the match into a deciding set.

It was Tim who drew first blood in set three as he broke Tomas early on to take a 2-1 lead, only to then immediately lose his own serve for 2-2. The next eight games went with serve for 6-6 forcing a tie-break to decide the match. However, Tim was no match for the spirited Czech as he gave away mini-breaks to lose the tie-break 7-4, and the set 7-6.

This should have been a routine match for Tim as he has met the 149th ranked Czech on two previous occasions (in 2003) and won both matches, including round one at Wimbledon.

After the match Tim said:

"All credit to Zib, he certainly won the match.

"He hit some great passing shots and was very, very solid from the baseline.

"I don't feel I was making mistakes. I was putting him under as much pressure as I could so I give him a lot of credit."

Tomas Zib added:

"I knew if I started well against him I would get some chances.

"I knew Tim's game very well and that was the key of the match.

"I think Tim was struggling a little bit with his serve so he couldn't play every ball serve and volley, and I knew from the baseline he was weaker than at the net."


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