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  Saturday, 1 September, 2001, 19:12 GMT 20:12 UK
Malisse outguns Henman
Tim Henman crashes out of the US Open
Henman could not overpower the Belgian
X Malisse (Bel) beat T Henman (GB, 9)
6-7, 6-3, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4

Tim Henman stumbled out of the US Open at the third round stage as Belgian Xavier Malisse triumphed in an edgy five-set match.

Malisse is coached by the Englishman's former coach David Felgate,

And afterwards, Henman admitted that Felgate's court-side presence had felt "a little bit strange," but denied it had been a factor in his defeat.

"It is a story for you guys," he said to journalists at the post-match press conference, "but for me it was business out there."

Henman, ranked number nine in the tournament, struggled with his first serve and made a number of unforced errors.


I just wasn't able to be as consistent and solid as I would have liked
Tim Henman

"I never had felt comfortable on my serve and I never found any rhythm."

Henman, after winning the first set, lost the next two, before he sent the match into the decisive fifth after breaking the Belgian's serve in the 10th game of the fourth set.

Malisse went 2-0 down in the decisive set, but fought his way back to provide one of the shocks of the tournament.

"There was no way that I wasn't going to go down after three-and-a-half-hours," said the Belgian.

"I played a great game," he added.

Henman has never got past the fourth round at the US Open.

The tense nature of the game was most evident in the third set when the two players swapped four straight service breaks.

Malisse managed to cling on to his serve in the 12th game to win the set 7-5 and take control of the match at two sets to one.

The Belgian player, ranked number 43 in the world, fought his way back into the match, claiming the second set, primarily through his ability to make fewer unforced errors than Henman.

Set points squandered

Henman made a sound start when he won the first set 7-6 on the tie-break.

Felgate was in the stands encouraging his new charge Malisse and he watched both players start shakily, dropping serve in the first two games of the match.

They also swapped service breaks in the seventh and eighth games - Henman the more fortunate having received the benefit of a line call on break point on the Malisse serve which clearly hit the line but was given out.

Henman squandered three set points in the 12th game and the set went to a tense shoot-out which Henman littered with unforced errors but still managed to take 8-6.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Britain's Tim Henman
"I wasn't comfortable with my serve"
Belgian Xavier Malisse
"This is the best experience in my life"
BBC Sport's Barry Millns
"Fourteen double faults undermined Henman's cause"
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See also:

01 Sep 01 | US Open tennis
30 Aug 01 | US Open tennis
Links to more US Open tennis stories are at the foot of the page.


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