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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 June, 2004, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Henman battles past Arazi
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Tim Henman
Tim Henman gave the 'People's Sunday' crowd a mighty scare before securing a hard-fought win over Hicham Arazi.

The British number one was the first to drop serve in each set, losing the third, but eventually came through 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-2 in two hours 44 minutes.

A fifth set looked inevitable when Arazi held two break points for a 3-0 lead in the fourth but, when it mattered, Henman responded.

He held serve and, urged on by the crowd, found the two breaks he needed.

The victory set up a clash with last year's finalist Mark Philippoussis.

"It was tough," Henman told BBC Sport.

"He was playing some really good tennis and making life difficult for me.

"The quality of the tennis wasn't always great but you've got to find a way to win those matches."

I can understand how it's difficult to organise but I'd like one every year
Henman on People's Sunday
Henman had lost his last encounter with Arazi in an intimidating Davis Cup atmosphere in Morocco, but this time the Briton could not have had more support.

The vociferous Centre Court welcome left even the vastly experienced Henman looking slightly taken aback.

"It's a phenomenal atmosphere," said Henman.

"I can understand how it's difficult to organise but I'd like one every year.

"When you get the chance to play in that atmosphere it's incredible."

Having struggled for periods in his opening two matches, the Briton looked even more uncertain on serve against the talented Arazi.

At 6-5 down in the first set tie-break he needed a reassuringly firm volley, a service winner and a spectacular lob to get himself out of trouble.

"As soon as I hit the lob I was praying it wouldn't go wide but I was pleased to get the breaker under my belt," admitted Henman.

From 4-2 down in the second set Henman upped his game again to break twice in succession, but with the two-set lead came a lapse in concentration.

He immediately fell 3-0 behind in the third and quickly lost the set, and when Arazi moved a break up in the fourth Henman's game looked to be disintegrating.

Fortunately for the Briton, Arazi was having almost as much difficulty maintaining his focus.

And with the crowd's support undoubtedly playing a part, the aggressive Henman resurfaced to take six straight games and seal a last-16 place.

"I need to play better but I've given myself a chance," said Henman of his clash with Philippoussis. "I fancy my chances."

Interview: Tim Henman

Highlights: Wimbledon day seven

Tim Henman Wimbledon timeline
10 Jun 04  |  Tennis

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