posted on May, 28 2004 @ 11:30 AM
The British number one reached the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time in
his career when he defeated Spain's Galo Blanco with a 7-6 6-1 6-2 performance which was as sparkling as the midday sunshine.
Even more encouraging for British tennis fans was the obvious excitement and determination in Henman's demeanour as he then proclaimed: "Bottom line,
I want more of it. Why stop there? I feel good about my game and we'll keep seeing what damage I can do."
There is every chance he can inflict plenty more yet. Next up on Sunday is French wild card Michael Llodra, just one better than Blanco at 94 in the
world, after which the path to the semi-final in his half of the draw has been eased by the exits of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.
The confidence and relaxation with which Henman is playing suggests that is a realistic possibility, though we should guard against getting too far
ahead of ourselves.
After all on Monday he was two sets down against Cyril Saulnier, on the brink of defeat and all the talk was of blood tests and heart scans and a
mystery virus and bouts of exhaustion.
That was all forgotten this afternoon as Henman admitted he was feeling stronger with each day and, as if to prove it, gave a ruthless demonstration
of how to win on clay by being aggressive and keeping the points short with expert serving and volleying to preserve his power levels.
It was all the more sweet because Blanco was the man who had inflicted the humiliating defeat back in 1998 at Monte Carlo which had convinced Henman
that he could not play on clay.
On Friday it was Blanco who was given a lesson on his favourite surface - and pride, as much as Henman's new-found confidence on the red dust, was the