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Henmania show gets waterlogged

This is real agony for Tim Henman and all those who take part in Henmania. When rain last held up play, Henman was locked in a tense battle with Sebastien Grosjean.
PTI | By S. Kannan, London
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2003 12:59 AM IST

This is real agony for Tim Henman and all those who take part in Henmania at The Championships. On Wednesday, it was not the wait for Henman to become champion, but as simple as get past fired up Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean in the quarter-final stage. When rain last held up play, Henman was locked 1-1 with Grosjean in the third set.

Grosjean, conqueror of French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the previous round, had won the first set 7-6 (10/8), but lost the second 3-6.

The more one watches Henman, the more one is convinced the Briton does feel the pressure as the whole nation keeps going gaga over how "he can do it this time."

 Henman has been in the semi-finals four out of the last five times, but looked far from champion material against the scruffy Grosjean, who had nothing to lose.

It was almost like watching Henman play his first round, where he was stuck at the back court against Tomas Zib. The famous sorties to the net were missing, and he was scratching from the backcourt half hoping his opponent would oblige him.

Grosjean did nothing like that and the Briton had to change strategy in the second set and play to his strengths.

On Court 1, the disappointment was even more, as Mark Philippoussis, who had got rid of Andre Agassi in the fourth round, struggled against Alexander Popp.

Popp's progress thus far has been beyond expectations. The 6 feet 7 inches tall German came here with a protected ranking of 92. Had it not been for that, he would be 100 spots lower on the ATP computer and never made it to the main draw here.

When rain stopped play in the quarter-final, Popp led 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0.

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