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  Friday, 18 January, 2002, 12:02 GMT
Henman wins battle of Britain
Tim Henman stretches for a backhand volley
Henman's all-round game was too strong for Rusedski
real watch 56k or 256k broadband highlights of the match.

Tim Henman produced some inspirational tennis to beat his fellow Briton Greg Rusedski in four sets in the Australian Open.

A packed Rod Laver arena was treated to a gripping third-round contest between the Davis Cup team-mates - in their first ever meeting in a Grand Slam event.

And it was Henman who came out on top, winning 6-4 6-3 1-6 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes.

  Match facts
First serves in: Henman 73%, Rusedski 69%
Aces: Henman 0, Rusedski 6
Double faults: Henman 1, Rusedski 1
Break points converted: Henman 3/15, Rusedski 2/8
He now faces Jonas Bjorkman in the fourth round, after the Swede beat 12th seed Guillermo Canas on another day of upsets in the men's singles competition.

With no Australians left in the draw, the so-called "battle of Britain" captured the imagination of the home support - and the attendance of 14,000 ranks as a record for the fifth day of the Australian Open.

Henman's serve-volley game was in brilliant shape and Rusedski had little answer to the range and consistency of his compatriot's shots.

Greg Rusedski
Rusedski battled in vain
So impressive was Henman's serving in the first half of the match that he did not suffer a double fault - a long-time weakness in his game - until the fourth game of the third set.

Rusedski launched a gritty comeback - sparked by a furious outburst at the officials over a questionable line call - to win the third set.

But it was not enough and a resilient Henman, whose temperament has been questioned in the past, held his nerve in the next set to claim his fourth successive victory over Rusedski.

Early deadlock

With so much at stake, the players would have been forgiven for nervous displays - but both were at the top of their form and the contest was deliciously deadlocked early on.

Henman, though, made the decisive move in the 10th game, producing a series of superb returns to snatch the first break of serve and win the set 6-4.


How could you miss that? Are you watching a different game?
Rusedski lambasts the umpire over a line call
The British number one followed that immediately with another break to move into a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set.

Rusedski finally earned his first break points at 5-3, but Henman controversially saved one of them with an overhead volley - which Rusedski was convinced was out - and then wrapped up the set 6-3.

But Rusedski remained furious with the officials' decision on such a huge point - and he let fly with a torrent of abuse at the umpire as the players changed ends.

Rusedski refused to succumb to a straight sets defeat and, with the adrenaline flowing, he unleashed a fierce backhand pass to claim his first break of serve and take a 3-1 lead in the third set.

The tenor of the match had suddenly changed and Henman lost his serve again to hand Rusedski the set 6-1.

Henman, though, was not to be denied and a break of serve right at the start of the fourth set sent him on his way to an excellent victory.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC tennis correspondent Iain Carter
"It was terrific tennis"
Britain's Tim Henman
"I thought it was a pretty good quality match"
Greg Rusedski
"Obviously I'm extremely disappointed"
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