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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Henman win sets up Federer clash
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Tim Henman
Henman beat Soderling in three sets when they last met in 2003
Tim Henman will face Roger Federer in the second round at Wimbledon after a typically nerve-jangling win over Robin Soderling on Court One.

Henman edged through 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 1-6 6-3 in three hours, 14 minutes.

The Briton opened his 13th Wimbledon in nervous fashion, missing three set points in the opening tie-break.

He worked his way back and produced two solid sets before Soderling forced a fifth, but Henman broke early in the decider and held on for the victory.

"I think I stuck in there and kept my level of play high and dominated the second and third sets," said Henman.

"The fourth set kind of ran away from me but I got off to a great start in the fifth and always felt like I had it under control."

Henman had beaten Soderling in their only previous meeting, also at Wimbledon, three years ago.

But since then he has slipped to number 64 in the world and he was now facing a player ranked 27 places higher, as well as being 10 years younger.

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The Briton wasted three break points and three set points in the first set, and looked in deep trouble when at break-point down midway through the second.

He finally got into the match by converting his third break point to go 4-2 up in the second set and Henman swept through the third in impressive style.

Any thoughts that a relatively comfortable victory was in sight were off the mark though - this was Henman after all.

His form collapsed alarmingly as he took just one game in the fourth set and neither he nor the Court One crowd were giving out too many positive vibes heading into the decider.

However, Henman regained the initiative by breaking in the second game and Soderling was unable to exert any real pressure on the home favourite.

Henman produced some much-improved serving to wrap up the match and set up the dream tie against Federer, albeit rather earlier in the fortnight than many would have wished.

"His record here is just getting better and better," Henman said of Federer, "but it feels good to be playing a match here at Wimbledon with very little pressure or expectation.

"I want to go out there and let it happen, go for my shots and see what happens."

SEE ALSO
Gamewatch: Henman v Soderling
27 Jun 06 |  Tennis
Survival of the British
27 Jun 06 |  Tennis


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