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Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Henman powers on
Tim Henman
Tim Henman played at the peak of his powers to beat Galo Blanco 7-6 (7/3) 6-1 6-2 and reach round four of the French Open for the first time.

The British number one came through a gruelling first set on a tie-break and then hit top form against the Spaniard.

Firing aces at will and applying superb touch with his volleys and passes, Henman romped to 5-0 in the second set.

And he closed out the match in style with a break to book a last-16 clash with Frenchman Michael Llodra.

"There are many ways to play on clay despite what they say about playing like the Spanish guys and I am clearly proving to myself that there are other ways to do it," he said.

Today I felt stronger on the court and hopefully I can build on that
Tim Henman
"So why stop there and I will keep trying to see what damage I can do."

And he was delighted with his improved physical condition after struggling back from the brink of defeat against Cyril Saulnier in the first round.

"I was just reflecting on how I felt at two sets down in that match," said Henman.

"I felt awful physically and mentally but somehow I managed to turn it around. Today I felt stronger on the court and hopefully I can build on that."

Henman, who earned six service breaks, was consistently dangerous with his returns.

And he deployed his favoured chip-and-charge tactic sparingly, but to good effect, on the Blanco serve.

The Briton finished with 19 aces, after a fine serving display.

And, encouragingly, he was able to out rally Blanco - a clay specialist - from the back of the court.

Henman has only played next-opponent Llodra once, beating him in the second round at Wimbledon in 2003.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Tim Henman
"I was always dictating play"


BBC Sport's Jonathan Overend
"Henman looks more accomplished on clay than ever before"




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