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Nadal ends Henman's run in Dubai

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal beat wildcard Tim Henman 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Open on Thursday.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 22:04 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal beat wildcard Tim Henman 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Open on Thursday.

Nadal, playing only his second tournament since winning the ATP Masters Series in Madrid last October because of a foot injury, looked in trouble early in the first set against Henman, ranked 49th in the world. But once the Spaniard wrapped up the tie-break, he raced away with the match.

In another quarterfinal, Mikhail Youzhny of Russia was an easy 6-3, 6-1 winner over Olivier Rochus of Belgium.

Youzhny will faces the winner of the match between top-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland and the Czech Republic's Robin Vik. Henman looked to be the stronger player in the opening set. The Briton dominated Nadal, who rarely leaves the baseline, with his aggressive serve-and-volley style.

Henman, who rallied from 2-5 down in the third set to beat Radek Stepanek on Wednesday night, showed no sign of tiredness, nor of any discomfort in his often troublesome back. He had two break points against Nadal to go 2-0 up, and two again in the sixth game, but failed to convert any.

Nadal broke Henman in the fifth game, but could not convert three set points in the ninth, and then served a double fault to let Henman climb back into the match. But Henman had no answer to the Spaniard's serve and heavy forehand passing shots once the set entered the tie-break.

Henman's last real chance came in the third game of the second set when he had three break points. But the reigning French Open champion was completely in control of his game, as he won 13 consecutive points and closed the match with an ace.

"I was having some problems with my serves early on, but as the match progressed, I kept improving and was serving much better towards the end," Nadal said. "This is a very good result against a very good player.

"I was a bit afraid of my movements in Marseille, but I feel much more comfortable now. If I play like this, I feel my hundred-per cent game is not far."

Henman was disappointed with the result, but satisfied with the week.

"I felt I was dictating the match in the first set, but when you are playing like that, you've got to make it count against players like Nadal," Henman said. "There are many positives from the tournament— my back is feeling good and I had two good wins."

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 22:04 IST