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2004 Nov 20 - Henman out of Masters Cup

Tim Henman failed to reach the semi-finals of the Tennis Masters Cup as he crashed in straight sets 6-2 7-6(2) to the in-form Russian Marat Safin in Houston, USA.

The winner of the match was guaranteed to take second spot in the round-robin BLUE group and go through to the semi-final where they would face world No.1 Roger Federer.

In the first set Tim started aprehensively and dropped his opening service game. By contrast, Marat started like a man who had just won the Paris and Madrid Masters tournaments back to back. His forehand and inside-out forehand winners were vicious and Tim was unable to make any headway on the dominant Safin serve. Marat broke Tim for the second time to lead 5-2 before serving for 6-2.

At the start of the second set the real Tim Henman finally showed up and his service game was operating at a significantly higher level. Marat wasn't given an opportunity to dominate the set but on the flip side he didn't come bearing gifts either. It was an enthrauling set which had to be decided with a tie-break. But the big serves and groundstrokes from the Russian were too much for the British No.1 who picked up just two points as he lost 7-2.

After the match Tim said:

"I improved in the second set but I don't think I raised it high enough. There's no question the better player won on the night.

"I didn't play great, I didn't play badly. Marat just played better than me."

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