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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Henman clinches dramatic victory
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Tim Henman
Tim Henman brought Wimbledon to life with a typically dramatic start to his 2005 campaign as he beat Jarkko Nieminen in five sets.

The British number one was on course to lose his opening match at SW19 for the first time since his debut in 1995, but fought back from two sets down.

Nieminen silenced the crowd in the early stages before Henman rediscovered his game in the third and fourth sets.

An immediate break in the fifth gave Henman a 3-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-5 6-2 win.

He will face Russia's Dmitry Tursunov in the second round.

"It was touch and go for a long time," Henman told BBC Sport afterwards.

I've got to find a way to perform better
Tim Henman

"I was struggling with my form the whole match. I got flat physically and I was struggling to get any energy into the match. I think the crowd were the same.

"You've got to play with what you've got on the day and I'm proud of the way I came back."

From the moment he slipped 15-30 down in the opening game, a nervous Henman looked to be in danger.

Nieminen passed at will in the opening stages, putting huge pressure on the Henman serve-volley game and forcing numerous errors.

There were brief moments of hope for the home crowd, notably when Henman broke at the start of the second and had two more break points in game 11.

He finally gave them something to cheer by grabbing the third set, but even then he needed three chances to convert at 5-4.

In a similarly tight fourth set, Henman upped the pressure in game 12 to level the score and he took that momentum into the decider with an immediate break.

At 5-2 up on Nieminen's serve, a diving volley took Henman to his first match point, but it took an error from the Finn on his third chance for the Briton to seal victory.

"My form was ordinary at best," admitted Henman.

"I struggle in those conditions - the courts have changed so much over the years - it was heavy, slow and the balls weren't coming through.

"But it's the same for everyone and I've got to find a way to perform better."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Post-match reaction: Tim Henman


Highlights: Wimbledon 2005 day two


Analysis: Hawk-Eye shows Henman's service problems



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