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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Henman v Gulbis as it happened
French Open

First round result:

T HENMAN GB v E GULBIS Lat

4-6 3-6 2-6

GAME-BY-GAME UPDATES:

By Mark Orlovac

Third set

"I hope Tim will not get too many questions about his future, an athlete has to make that decision. He is going through a bad patch at the moment and he came up against a better player on the day. It was a brilliant performance from Gulbis, that is just pure and utter talent."
John Lloyd

Henman 4-6 3-6 2-6 Gulbis
Oh dear, it's all over. Gulbis goes 40-0 up and Henman fires another return long to give the impressive teenager a memorable and deserved win. Henman trudges off taking British Roland Garros hopes with him and knowing he was second best on the day.

Henman 4-6 3-6 2-5 Gulbis
Gulbis produces two wonderful service returns to claim a break point only for Henman to hang on gamely. However, Gulbis earns another and a well-placed backhand winner puts him on the brink of victory in his first Grand Slam match.

Henman 4-6 3-6 2-4 Gulbis
Not for the first time, Gulbis loses the first point of his service game only to eventually hold. Must be a tactic. The writing is on the wall now.

Henman 4-6 3-6 2-3 Gulbis
I don't know why I just said that. Henman goes 40-15 up and everything looks rosy but he then makes a succession of unforced errors to surrender his serve. Poor.

Henman 4-6 3-6 2-2 Gulbis
Gulbis goes 15-30 down as Henman senses another break. The Brit goes long to hand Gulbis the game but there are signs that he is getting his game together.

Henman 4-6 3-6 2-1 Gulbis
Is it me or has Henman got a bit of a spring in his step now? Gulbis starts to make a few unforced errors and Henman goes to his seat leading a set for the first time.

Henman 4-6 3-6 1-1 Gulbis
Another little ray of light for the Brit but Gulbis slams the door shut with a wonderful drop shot that limps over the net. But Henman is no quitter and forces his first break of the contest. Is it too late though?

Henman 4-6 3-6 0-1 Gulbis
Gulbis is firing now. He goes 40-0 up after Henman leaves a fizzer that bounces in and after a stunning return opens up the court, he simply puts a backhand away to take a stranglehold of the match.

"I though Gulbis was one-paced but he has thrown that out of the window with the variation he has shown. It is quite remarkable for a player this inexperienced."
John Lloyd

Second set

Henman 4-6 3-6 Gulbis
...and he does, without any real fuss. Gulbis' serve has been accurate and quick all afternoon and as a Henman return loops way out, he goes two-love up. The day was not supposed to go like this.

Henman 4-6 3-5 Gulbis
Henman manages to hold but knows Gulbis just has to win his serve and the set is his.

Henman 4-6 2-5 Gulbis
Henman lets Gulbis' errors get the better of him and claims a break point. But with the chance of a getting back into the second set on a plate, he spurns it and inexplicably fires an easy forehand onto the net chord and the ball bounces out. His body language says it all. Gulbis holds.

Henman 4-6 2-4 Gulbis
Backs to the wall again for Henman as Gulbis earns three break points. Henman manages to save the first with an ace but cannot do anything with the second and it is really looking ominous for him now.

Henman 4-6 2-3 Gulbis
Again Henman has an opportunity to break, going 30-0 up, but three well-placed volleys put Gulbis 40-30 ahead. Henman rifles a backhand down the line but despite his first double fault, a nerveless Gulbis manages to hold. This really is an impressive performance from the teenager.

Henman 4-6 2-2 Gulbis
A nerve-shredding game for Henman fans. He looks on the ropes but shows all his fighting qualities to save a total of five, count them, break points. Could this be a turning point?

Henman 4-6 1-2 Gulbis
There is a slight glimmer of hope for Henman as he goes 30-15 in front. Gulbis responds by delivering a well-judged drop that totally surprises the Brit. The Latvian's shots are coming off for him at the moment and there is not a lot Henman can do.

Henman 4-6 1-1 Gulbis
Henman looks after his service game but he knows he is in a real battle now.

Henman 4-6 0-1 Gulbis
Gulbis does not let winning his first set at Roland Garros get to him and he backs his break up with another hold.


First set

Henman 4-6 Gulbis
Oops. That wasn't supposed to happen. Gulbis unleashes two stunning winners to break Henman and take the first set. In truth Henman is not doing a lot wrong but although Gulbis is making more errors, he is firing more winners. Sixteen to seven in fact.

Henman 4-5 Gulbis
Gulbis again looks in control as he holds pretty comfortably. It must be pretty difficult for Henman to come up against an unknown quantity in a season when he has not shown much form.

Henman 4-4 Gulbis
It is quite obvious that Gulbis is pretty happy-go-lucky and a rally in this game highlights it perfectly. He is given two smashes, the second one is going but he plays it anyway and promptly fires it wide. It is a good hold for Henman though.

Henman 3-4 Gulbis
Henman is not given a sniff as Gulbis wins the game to love. This could be a long afternoon for the British number two.

Henman 3-3 Gulbis
Henman goes 40-15 ahead but two fine strokes from Gulbis put the Latvian level. Gulbis tries to go for glory again but his forehand attempt flies out.

"Gulbis is a high-risk player. There is not much change up in pace and he goes for a lot of shots. Tim will have worked out that most of the errors are on the forehand side."
John Lloyd

Henman 2-3 Gulbis
Henman is in a fine position to break as three unforced errors put him 40-0 up. However, Gulbis manages to save them all and Henman's chance disappears.

Henman 2-2 Gulbis
Not the best game Henman has ever played but he digs deep to save two break points and levels the match with a fizzing forehand.

Henman 1-2 Gulbis
The Latvian seems to have a powerful serve and Henman has little chance to try and put Gulbis under pressure. A poor Henman forehand into the net gives Gulbis the game.

Henman 1-1 Gulbis
Solid enough game from Henman as he gets off the mark thanks to a wild Gulbis forehand that goes long.

Henman 0-1 Gulbis
Gulbis is a French Open debutant then is he? Well he looks like a seasoned veteran with that impressive start. He produces a deft backhand drop from the back of the court and seals the game with an ace.

1641: Play begins and it is Gulbis to serve first.

"It may appear like a lovely day but I can assure you it's still pretty cold and windy out on Court Six and it's not going to get any warmer as the evening goes on."
BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros

"Tim is desperate for a win, any sort of win to get him going again. He is hitting the ball well in practice and he just needs matches. This is a match he should win."
GB Davis Cup captain & BBC commentator John Lloyd

1638: Henman has made his way onto the sun-drenched court which has a healthy crowd already seated. After a bit of a wait, a beaming Gulbis confidently strolls onto the orange clay to join his opponent and the warm-up begins.

1626 BST: After two days of dreadful weather, the sun is out in Paris. There has been a full day's play so far and we are ready for the appearance of Britain's only singles hope at Roland Garros this year - Tim Henman.

His opponent today on Court Six is one Ernests Gulbis of Latvia. The 18-year-old has won just once on the main tour in 2007 but has claimed two Challenger titles, at Besancon in France and Sarajevo.

Henman has been hampered by a sore back this year and has won only one tour match this season. But despite his poor form, our Tim should be too strong for the lad from Riga. Surely.



SEE ALSO
Monday's order of play
26 May 07 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
22 May 07 |  Tennis
Contact the BBC TV tennis team
24 May 07 |  Tennis
Women's French Open draw
25 May 07 |  Tennis
Men's French Open draw
25 May 07 |  Tennis


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