posted on Jun, 30 2004 @ 10:43 AM
Tim Henman is out of Wimbledon
2004 after being crushed in straight sets by Mario Ancic this afternoon. Tim Henman broke the hearts of British tennis fans on Thursday when he exited
Wimbledon in the meekest fashion. 'Henmania' came to the most abrupt of halts as the British number one was defeated 7-6 6-4 6-2 by the 20-year-old
brilliance of Croatian Mario Ancic in the most disappointing of quarter-finals.
Ancic took a desperately tight first set in the tie-break, and had Henman in real trouble as he took the second with successive breaks. Henman managed
a break of his own but it was not enough as an inspired Ancic silenced the Centre Court crowd with two more breaks in the third. Henman admitted
afterwards that the defeat was a "massive disappointment".
"I think the first set was very important for both of us, there weren't too many chances," said Henman. After he was able to win the tie-break he
gained confidence and his level got a little bit better. In the second and third sets my level went down and there's no question the better player won
on the day."
It was the Briton who appeared to have the upper hand in the early stages of the match, and Ancic needed an ace to hold serve in the fifth game. The
first warning sign for Henman came in the 12th game when, from out of nowhere, the Croat found his range on the return and forced a break point of his
own. A wild Ancic forehand saved the Briton, but in the ensuing tie-break Henman fell 6-3 behind and eventually succumbed with a wayward forehand
With the crowd increasingly unsettled Henman appeared to lose confidence and a double-fault gave Ancic another break to go 3-2 up in the second set.
That appeared to jolt Henman into action and he immediately broke back, but any thoughts of a revival disappeared when he then dropped serve again to
love. Ancic needed no more encouragement and managed to keep the home crowd quiet with increasingly confident serve-volleying on his way to a two-set
And there was more to come as the Croat began to completely dominate Henman's serve, claiming two breaks in the third set with a succession of return
winners. Henman had no answer to the 20-year-old's domination and the rain came too late to save him as Ancic wrapped up the match with a big serve.
"I played a really good match,"
Ancic told BBC Sport.
"The first set was really tough, he was serving at a high percentage and I was a little bit lucky to get through the tie-break.
"In the second set I gained a little bit of confidence on my serve.
"I was a little nervous but that's normal and from there I played really well and kept everything under control."