British hope Tim Henman needed two days to make it to the second round of Wimbledon, outlasting Carlos Moya on Tuesday in a rivetting conclusion in which he won the fifth set 13-11 on his seventh match point.
A double-fault by Moya on the third match point of the 24th game of the set gave Henman a 6-3, 1-6, 5-7, 6-2, 13-11 win that enthralled the Centre Court crowd at the All England Club. Henman, a four-time semifinalist playing in his 14th Wimbledon, had been tied 5-5 with Moya in the fifth set when the first-round match was stopped because of darkness Monday night. Henman missed four match points at 5-4.
“It would have been pretty sweet to finish it off last night,” he said. “Perhaps this scenario is even better.” Henman, who has a tradition of pulling out five-set victories at Wimbledon, has lost in the second round the last two years. The last British man to win the title at Wimbledon was Fred Perry in 1936, but Henman has been closest to ending that streak in recent years. “This place is so special to me and I’ve had so many experiences over the years I always believe that good things are going to happen,” he said.
The two men returned to Centre Court after Amelie Mauresmo had opened the defence of her women’s title on Tuesday by beating Jamea Jackson of the United States 6-1, 6-3 in just more than an hour. That was slightly less time that it took Henman and Moya, the 1998 French Open champion and former No. 1-ranked player, to complete their match.
Also advancing on Tuesday was 2002 winner Lleyton Hewitt, the only champion in the men’s field other than four-time winner Roger Federer. The 16th-seeded Australian beat British wild card Richard Bloomfield 7-5, 6-3, 7-5.
Third-seeded Jelena Jankovic and No. 8 Anna Chakvetadze were among the women who reached the second round. Henman and Moya both pulled out some brilliant shots under pressure -- including aces, running passing shots and stab volleys -- to keep the match going. Henman saved two break points while serving at 11-all -- the first with an ace down the middle, and the second with a stunning second-serve ace, a high-kicking delivery into Moya’s backhand corner.
In the next game, Henman got to 15-40 on Moya’s serve by lifting a soft backhand lob that just drifted over the leaping Spaniard's extended racket. Henman squandered the first match point with a misplayed backhand return, and Moya saved the second with a backhand volley winner. After an error at deuce, the match ended with Moya hitting a second serve long.
Mauresmo, who beat Justin Henin in last year's final, is seeded only No. 4 because she was sidelined following an appendectomy in March and had a groin problem that contributed to an early exit at the French Open.
“It's great to be back as the defending champion here,” Mauresmo said.
Mauresmo was never really tested by the 158th-ranked Jackson, who underwent hip surgery in December.
In men’s play, No. 9 James Blake beat Igor Andreev 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Other winners included No. 13 Richard Gasquet, No. 15 Ivan Ljubicic and No. 26 Marat Safin.