DUBAI, Feb 27 (Reuters) Tim Henman came through a tough match with former finalist Feliciano Lopez to reach the second round of the Dubai Open 6-2 7-6 today.
''It was a good start for me,'' Henman told reporters. ''I was happy with my overall game.'' Henman lost his position as British number one after the latest rankings were released today. Scottish teenager Andrew Murray is now ranked 42, seven places higher than Henman.
His Spanish opponent virtually handed the opening set to Henman with a sluggish performance and numerous unforced errors. But the second set was more of a struggle.
Lopez fought off three break points that would have given Henman the momentum of a 2-0 lead and then broke to lead 2-1 when the Briton failed to pick up a low forehand.
Henman also had to fend off two break points in the seventh game before Lopez, leading 5-4, double-faulted on break point.
Henman held a match point at 6-5, which Lopez saved with a forehand volley, and recovered from 0-3 in the tiebreak, claiming it 8-6 on his fifth match point.
''The first set I played very solidly but he was making so many unforced errors,'' said Henman.
''Then I played one or two loose points on the 1-1 game in the second set and that gave him a lot of confidence. It was amazing how much better he played from then, from playing ordinary to playing some pretty good stuff.'' ''I felt I just had to be patient and keep holding my own serve, and when he served for the set I wanted to make him hit as many balls as possible because I knew he can be erratic.'' David Ferrer was the first seed to fall. The fifth-seeded Spaniard was beaten 6-2 3-6 7-5 by Rainer Schuettler of Germany.
After splitting the first two sets, Schuettler broke twice in the third to lead 4-1.
Ferrer fought back and led 5-4, only to hit two double-faults as he dropped his serve to love at 5-5.
REUTERS DH KN2159