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2004 May 06 - Henman crashes to Zabaleta

Tim Henman was humbled 6-3 3-6 2-6 by Argentinean Mariano Zabaleta in the third round of the Telecom Italia Masters in Rome, Italy.

Both players had previously met on clay twice before with Mariano the victor on both occasions in Hamburg 2000 & 1999. Undeterred, it was the British No.1 to snatched an important break of serve in the first set which was sufficient to grab the set 6-3.

The second set was as close as the first but the Argentinean started to stamp his clay court pedigree all over the match, grabbing an early break of serve which he held onto with relative ease.

Into a deciding set Tim lost his rhythm and two service games, while unable to make any headway on the Zabaleta serve. It may have been game over but Tim should not be disappointed with his clay court performances so far this year as we build up to the big one, Roland Garros.

After the match Tim said:

"In the first set I played to as high a level as I can, but I couldn't keep it up. I don't have so many complaints.

"Credit to him: in the second and third sets he certainly raised his game and started to play very aggressively and very consistently.

"It was difficult to put pressure on him. He was serving or returning well and that was letting him dictate most of the time."

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