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2004 May 26 - R.Garros: Henman into R3

Tim Henman overcame German Lars Burgsmuller 6-0 6-3 6-3 to book his place in the third round of Roland Garros.

Lars opened up the serving in the first set but was unable to hold through a combination of his own desire to take the game to the British No.1 and Tim's sublime court skills. Tim held serve for 2-0, then Lars double-faulted to hand Tim a 3-0 lead which he consolidated for 4-0. With pressure of a donut (or bagel for our American viewers) mounting Lars folded as he was broken to love on his own serve for 5-0. Tim then comfortably served out the set 6-0 with only 20 minute played.

The second set started much better for the German as he held serve for 0-1. He also earned two break-points on the Henman serve but the Brit kick-served his way out of trouble to hold 1-1. The next four games went with serve and at 3-3 Tim was then given two break point opportunities as Lars hit a batch of unforced errors - Tim then broke to lead 4-3. Confidence was flowing and Tim could sense his opponent was on the ropes so he increased the tempo and consolidated the break for 5-3. Lars needed to hold serve to stay in the set but Tim again stole a break point which he duly converted for 6-4.

Tim started well in the third set by serving to love in the opening game but this didn't phase the German as he immediately returned the favour to serve his first love game of the match. Poised at 1-1 the next three games went with serve for 3-2. In the sixth game it was the Brit who earned himself a double break-point opportunity but only needed one to stretch his lead to 4-2 and then consolidated for 5-2. Lars was now serving to stay in the match and courageously saved two match-points before holding serve for 5-3 in what was the hardest fought and most entertaining game of the match. Tim had the match in his hands as started to serve in the ninth game and immediately brought up a triple match-point but he only needed one as Lars hit another unforced error into the net.

Having played for almost four hours in his first round match on Monday, Tim swiftly disposed of his second round opponent in a shade over one and a half hours today.

After the match Tim said:

"I've taken that attitude you can't always feel the best and you just have to get on with it.

"I still wouldn't say I feel my best. But I decided not to pay too much attention to energy levels. To play just 90 minutes will conserve me.

"From the word go I set the tone. He can be very awkward to play against but it was pretty conclusive.

"I went on the court much more focused in the way I wanted to play.

"You've just got to get on with it. If I can still play that level of tennis, why can't I progress?"

"It's clearer the way I have got to play.

"If I can be aggressive and dictate again and keep the points short, that's going to give me the best chance."

In the third round Tim will be up against the Spaniard Galo Blanco who he last met and defeated at Roland Garros in three straight sets in 2002.


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