Henman Wins a Wild One at Wimbledon

Posted on June 29, 2004

Tim Henman doesn't like to make things easy for his British fans. The 29-year-old English icon won another thriller at Wimbledon on Monday defeating 2003 runner-up Mark Philippoussis 6-2, 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(5), to advance to the quarterfinals.


"The atmosphere was just incredible and it was a lot of fun out there," said after the 3-hour, 7-minute win. "There is a lot of tension. I'm aware of it and you can feel it in the crowd. They're going to feed off what they see, they don't need encouragement. They're excited by me winning games and sets and I can use them to my advantage."

After playing near perfect tennis that put him up two sets, Henman found himself in a dogfight with the dangerous Philippoussis in the third. As the crowd swelled on "Henman Hill", the big-serving Australian captured a third set tiebreak.


But Henman was undeterred in the fourth set, racing out to a 5-2 lead until things got dicey. Philippoussis, like a caged tiger fighting for his life, went down two matchpoints 15-40 on his serve but recovered.


And recover he did as he broke Henman for the first time of the match on a shaky serve game to get back on serve at 5-4. Once could sense the anxious crowd begin to shudder at the thought of "Their Tim" going to a fifth set with such a dangerous opponent.


Henman service games continued to be shaky while Philippoussis seemed to find his rhythm. Henman picked up play in the tiebreak, but need three more match points to put Philippoussis away and finally gave cheer and joy to his fans.


"The big difference today was that in the fourth set tie-break I was very focused and trusting my serve," said Henman.


Defending champion Roger Federer and his No. 1 competitor, Andy Roddick also advanced Monday.


Federer, who has yet to drop a set thus far at the All England Club, sparkled again in the face of Croatian giant "Dr." Ivo Karlovic, employing his all-court game in a 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-6(5) win.


"It is definitely, you know, different," said Federer on facing the serve of the 6'10" "Dr." Ivo. "You know, I faced the pace of the serve, but it's a different angle it's coming from. So it makes it -- the thing is, you're not used to it, you know. He serves very consistent."

Roddick defeated another towering adversary in German Alexander "My Serve Has" Popp in a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 victory.


"I had a couple bad service games there in the third set, and my return game got me through it, you know," Roddick said. "I think I broke him three times that set."


Others into the quarters were former champ (7)Lleyton Hewitt (d. (9)Moya in four), (10)Sebastien Grosjean (d. (27)Ginepri), (12)Sjeng Schalken (d. (30)Spadea in four), and un-seeds Mario "Baby Goran" Ancic (d. Malisse, who retired in the second set with a back injury), and Germany's Florian "Oscar" Mayer (d. J.Johansson in four).