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Last Updated: Monday, 30 June, 2003, 21:31 GMT 22:31 UK
Henman holds off Nalbandian
By Alex Perry
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Tim Henman came through a nervy encounter to book his seventh Wimbledon quarter-final in eight years with victory over David Nalbandian.

The British number one surrendered his serve five times in a rollercoaster match before emerging victorious 6-2 6-7 (4/7) 7-5 6-3 in a minute over three hours.

"The level of my play to 6-2 3-1 was as good as it gets," said Henman. "But it's amazing how things can change.

"With missing one or two points the whole momentum of the match changed and we were sitting down at a set-all - it was pretty depressing.

I was going to call the trainer for depression, but I don't know if he could have given me anything
Tim Henman
"It would have been easy to be a bit negative having been up a break on a number of occasions and not being able to establish the break.

"But on a couple of occasions when I lost my serve I said 'It's no big deal, I'll keep breaking him', and that's exactly what I did."

And Henman added that the crowd should take some of the credit for the victory for producing a "phenomenal atmosphere" to help him through.

He will now play either Sebastien Grosjean - who beat him at Queen's - or French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero for a place in the semis.

The pair resume on Tuesday with Grosjean leading two sets to one.

Having to return to complete a match the following day is a position that Henman has often been in himself, and he is delighted the boot is on the other foot for once.

And he said he would enjoy watching his potential opponents "slug away in a fourth and hopefully a fifth set".

There was no sign of the drama to come as Henman played his best tennis of the tournament to date to wrap up the first set in quick time with not a single unforced error.

But he missed an easy forehand to go 4-2 up in the second and Nalbandian - last year's defeated finalist - took the tie-break 7-4.

A remarkable third set saw six consecutive breaks of serve before Henman finally held his own to take it 7-5.

Both players had chances in the fourth set as Nalbandian continued to produce a mixture of the inspired and the insipid.

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Crucially, the Argentine continued to struggle on serve and was broken three more times including the final game, when Henman sealed victory to the delight of a partisan crowd.

Nalbandian put his serving problems down to an abdominal strain he suffered in his last match against Karol Kucera, but said: "He still had to play well to beat me."

Henman was also buoyed by the news that second seed Andre Agassi, a potential semi-final opponent had been beaten by Mark Philippoussis.

But he said that he must concentrate on his own game and not think about anyone else.

"I could not be happier to be in my position now, but I know that if my level drops or if my performance drops then I'll lose."





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