Tennis: Henman Ticks off Restless Ball Boys
Roberts, John, The Independent (London, England)
NOTHING WAS allowed to distract Tim Henman yesterday as he advanced to the quarter-finals of the Masters Series tournament here. The British No 1 even told off a couple of ball boys for "rocking to and fro".
"It's a habit they have when they kneel at the side of the net when they're waiting," Henman said. "You either let it distract you or you do something about it and get on with it."
Likewise, Henman added, he was aware that some of the chasing pack had lost ground in the race for one of the eight places in next month's Masters Cup in Sydney, but was not prepared to let that knowledge put him off his stroke, either.
Henman's steely, occasionally tetchy, determination was bad news for his third round opponent, Nicolas Lapentti, who was keen to atone for his dismal Davis Cup display against Britain last month in his home town, Guayaquil, but was unable to raise his game at the appropriate moments. Henman, maintaining an impressive level of consistency, won, 7-6, 6-2, after an hour and 37 minutes.
He now plays Tommy Haas, of Germany, the 15th seed, who twice came within two points of losing to Hicham Arazi before overcoming the Moroccan, 4- 6, 6-3, 7-6. Arazi, who eliminated Andre Agassi the previous evening, was back down to earth.
Organisers of the Stuttgart tournament invite local young tennis enthusiasts to form fan groups for the competitors, and Lapentti's supporters did their best to raise his spirits in the drab ambience of the Grandstand Court. Lapentti occasionally rewarded their faith with colourful flashes of style, but overall he was a portrait of Ecuadorean grey.
Henman may have made shorter work of the opening set but for netting a forehand return when he had an opportunity to break for 4- 2, the only chance on either side of the net en route to the tie- break. Lapentti, serving at 4-5, played two dreadful points to 0- 30, but rescued himself with four flawless ones.
His performance was encapsulated by two points in the …
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Publication information: Article title: Tennis: Henman Ticks off Restless Ball Boys. Contributors: Roberts, John - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 19, 2001. Page number: 31. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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