paris03henman_pavel

Points won by each set: [ 27-13, 45-43, 39-34 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
31 % Henman – 32 of 102
31 % Pavel – 31 of 99

When Henman [31] reached the Wimbledon quarterfinal in 1996 it was quite obvious that he possessed skills to win something big one day; if not the most desired Wimbledon, at least one of Masters 1K events. And he did it, but waited 7.5 years to enjoy the week of his life. It was really a dreamlike week because he defeated in straight sets in back-to-back matches Kuerten, Roddick & Federer, so the guy who was the best a few years earlier, and two young men who were the best in the world at the time. In the final against a shocking finalist (Pavel was coming back from an injury, ranked No. 191), the amazingly confident Henman played a cosmic tennis from 1:2 in the 1st to 2:0 in the 2nd set, spreading winners all over the place, especially with his forehand. Until 5:3* in the 2nd set, the Brit was as impressive as Federer in his best years, but lapse of concentration cost him losing three games in succession, and the Romanian leading 6:5* (30-all) should have created a set point, but played too tentatively at the net off the bounce – this situation repeated itself at 6-all in the tie-break – then admittedly Pavel was in a bit tougher position, but his shot selection in that moment was terrible – just after losing the point he threw his raqcuet, lost the breaker 6/8 in the consequence. He had a break point in the opening game of the 3rd set, but didn’t convert and since then they both held 11 times easily to play another tie-break, that one without any drama. After 2 hours 26 minutes Henman forced an error and raised his hands, at the age of 29 he reached his pinnacle. He never won another tile, but his 2004 season was very good, the career-best as far as the majors are concerned.

Henman’s route to his 7th title:
1 Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4
2 Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
3 Gustavo Kuerten 6-4, 6-2
Q Roger Federer 7-6(5), 6-1
S Andy Roddick 7-6(4), 7-6(7)
W Andrei Pavel 6-2, 7-6(6), 7-6(2)

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