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2004 Jan 20 - Aus Open: Henman into third round

Tim Henman was asked a few more questions in the second round of the Australian Open as he defeated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in 4 sets 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-0.

And we have to say that his performance was, at times, simply sublime and his movement shows he is arguably in the best shape of his career.

The first set saw both players start comfortably with Tim serving first and holding a 2-1 lead. 3 consecutive broken games followed so Tim was in pole position leading 4-2 with a service game to come. Both players held their next service games and at 5-2 Radek was serving to stay in the set. However, a poor service game meant Radek handed the set to Tim in only 28 minutes.

Surprisingly, Tim was the first player to lose his serve in the second set. He trailed 3-4 with Radek to serve. Both players then held their serve, and so it was the Czech who had the opportunity to serve out the set. Tim battled away to earn 5 break-point opportunities but was unable to convert any of them, while Radek made the most of a second set-point advantage to take the set 4-6.

In the third set Tim broke the Czech immediately, quickly running to a 3-0 lead. The one break of serve proved enough for Tim to secure the set 6-3.

For the first time in the match Radek would open up the serving, but he was immediately broken by Tim who pulled out a couple of superb winners. The disheartened Czech then seemed to lose interest which gave Tim the confidence he needed to run away with the set 6-0.

Next up for Tim is the unseeded but very dangerous Guillermo Canas of Argentina, who beat fellow countryman Agustin Calleri in a hard fought 5-setter 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 6-4.

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