posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 01:18 PM
Wimbledon hopes suffered a devastating setback on Wednesday when he was dumped out of the Stella Artois Championship by Slovakia's Karol Beck. Just 24
hours after former champion Goran Ivanisevic tipped Henman as favourite to triumph at the All England Club, the British number one was deservedly
beaten 2-6 6-3 6-7 by the world number 79.
Fresh from his unexpected semi-final appearance at the French Open and on the day he announced he is to become a father for the second time, Henman
was full of confidence as he began his grass court campaign. But he was completely outplayed in the opening set and after recovering to take the
second, was unable to convert his solitary match point in front of a stunned Queen's Club crowd.
Karol Beck produced a superb display to end Tim Henman's hopes in the second round at Queen's. Beck, who won last week's grass-court tournament at
Surbiton, broke Henman twice to take the first set. Henman then lifted himself and levelled the match by taking the second set with a single break of
But he was never able to take full control, and Beck took the match to a deciding tie-break and came through a 6-2 3-6 7-6 (8/6) winner.
"It's the best result of my career because Tim Henman is a great player. It's unbelievable for me," Beck said after his 114-minute victory.
The unseeded Slovakian had never before beaten a top-10 player but cruised to the first set easily against the recent French Open semi-finalist. The
fourth seed rallied in set two but found himself staring at match point to Beck at 4-5 in the third.
The Englishman escaped and forced the tie-break but squandered a 4-2 lead to hand his opponent two more match points, the last of which Henman dumped
into the net to seal the defeat.
It leaves Henman desperately short of match practice with Wimbledon only 12 days away, and he may have to apply for a wild card at next week's
Nottingham Open to get some more matches under his belt.