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2004 Oct 29 - Henman crashes in Basel

Tim Henman was defeated by Czech Jiri Novak 7-6(5) 7-5 in the quarter-finals of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel tournament in Switzerland.

In the first set both players held their first service games but Tim was unable to hold again as he slipped a break to trail 2-1. Jiri was unable to hold onto the slender lead as in the eigth game and Tim recovered the break. Both players then kept their games tight, forcing a tie-break. Jiri was like a sprinter out of the blocks as he rushed ahead 6-2 and although the Brit won the next three points for 6-5 Jiri closed out the breaker on the next point.

The second set was even tighter than the first with both players holding serve for a combined eleven games straight. Tim was serving at 6-5 down to level and force another breaker but a spirited Jiri broke the Henman serve and booked his place against Austrian Stefan Koubek in the quarter-finals.

The pressue is building with Tim desperately needing to win as many points as possible in order to maintain his position within the top seven in the ATP Champions Race. The reward is qualification for the $3.7m end-of-seaason Masters Cup in Houston, USA.

In order to guarantee his palce in the tournament Tim will now have to reach the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris next week - the tournament he won in 2003.

After the match Tim said:

"It's a bit soon to think about my feelings for Paris but it's going to be an important week.

"It's disappointing to go out here in Basel, but I feel like I'm hitting the ball well and playing well."

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