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  Sunday, 8 July, 2001, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Goran comeback shatters Henman
Tim Henman
Henman's dreams are over for another year
Goran Ivanisevic (Cro) beat Tim Henman (Gbr) 7-5 6-7 0-6 7-6 6-3

Goran Ivanisevic has crushed Tim Henman's dream of a place in the Wimbledon final by battling back from two sets to one down to win in five sets.

Henman had appeared on the brink of the final on Friday when he came from a set down to lead with some dazzling tennis.

But the rain delays which caused the semi-final to be played over the course of three days broke Henman's rhythm and worked to Ivanisevic's advantage.

After his win, Ivanisevic said: "This is destiny.

"God wanted me to win this game - he sent the rains."

Henman was naturally disappointed but was able to put the defeat in perspective.

Goran Ivanisevic
Ivanisevic now faces Rafter
"Unfortunately my best was not good enough this year but I certainly know I'll be back for many more tries," said Henman.

"I've said for many years I believe I'll win this tournament and it certainly isn't any different this year," he added.

The pair resumed on Sunday with Ivanisevic leading 3-2 on serve in the fifth set.

Both players held their first service games, although Ivanisevic had to come from 0-30 down to do so.

With Henman 4-3 down, a volley into the net and two return winners from Ivanisevic gave the Croat two break points.

Henman saved both with two big serves, but a double fault gave Ivanisevic a third chance to break.

The Croat found another winner and was left to serve for the match.

So close

He double-faulted on his first match point, but set up a second with a second-serve ace.

He made no mistake this time and he now faces Pat Rafter in the final.

Henman had seemed so close to victory on Friday when he battled back from a set down to lead with some inspirational tennis.

The British number one had just one break point in the first set, which was cancelled out by an Ivanisevic ace.


Tomorrow's the biggest day of my life, I don't want to get that plate for a fourth time
Goran Ivanisevic
The Croat then played an inspirational game when leading 6-5, as three successive return winners flew past Henman to secure the set.

With Ivanisevic in confident mood at the start of the second set, Henman looked to have missed his chance when he wasted three break points in the ninth game.

It came down to a tie-break, and this time Henman seized the moment.

After two breaks apiece he converted his second set point with a sharp volley to level at one set all.

The momentum was now firmly with Henman, and he played faultless tennis to wrap up the third set 6-0 in just 15 minutes.

Ivanisevic had no answer to a succession of lobs and winners off both sides and looked increasingly frustrated as he lost serve three times.

Agonising wait

But Henman's flow was stemmed by the rain and, when the pair returned on Saturday, it was Ivanisevic who took the fourth set on a tie-break.

The pair had shared two mini-breaks apiece, before the Croat took the set when he fired a service return at the Briton's toes with the score at 6-5.

Just five games into the deciding set, the rains came again leaving the pair another agonising overnight wait.

And it was Ivanisevic's patience which was rewarded as he secured a fairytale fourth Wimbledon final appearance.

"I don't want to lose again - that would kill me," said Ivanisevic.

"Tomorrow's the biggest day of my life, I don't want to get that plate for a fourth time."

Asked about his opponent in the final, the Croat said: "He's a great friend and a great player - it's going to be tough.

"But tomorrow we are not going to be friends."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Nick Mullins
"Henman's defeat seemed to puncture the atmosphere on centre court."
Tim Henman
"I'm certain I'll win this tournament one day"
Goran Ivanisevic
"This is destiny, God wants me to win this year"
Wimbledon site

Men's singles final

Ladies' singles final

Henman's defeat

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SOL at Wimbledon

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