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Sublime Federer humilates Henman

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) Three-times defending champion Roger Federer ripped Tim Henman's Wimbledon dreams to shreds with a majestic 6-4 6-0 6-2 win in the second round today.

The much-hyped battle between the world number one and the four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist turned into a one man show after Federer floored Henman with a breathtaking display of grasscourt tennis.

''It's a big relief for me to come though this match against Tim today,'' said Federer, who had been beaten by Henman in their only previous meeting on the slick surface in 2001.

''It's not a lot of fun beating a friend like this, that's for sure.

''I was happy I didn't get broken. It was an excellent match... I'm very, very happy with the result because it wasn't something that I was expecting.'' The home favourite had been expected to challenge Federer's run of 42 successive victories on grass as he is one of few players on the tour to hold an advantage over the Swiss maestro in their head-to-head meetings.

Before the tournament started Federer had admitted that he wanted to avoid Henman in the early rounds as the Briton, unseeded here for the first time in a decade, would be dangerous floater.

Federer, though, need not have worried.

It did not take long for Federer to pick Henman's serve-and-volley tactics apart.

The 31-year-old Briton dropped his serve for the first time in the third game when he lost his footing on break point and misfired a shot wide.

SLAMMED SHUT He earned two chances to break back in the eighth game but once Federer had safely negotiated that test, he slammed the door shut on Henman.

The Britain pocketed one more game before Federer unleashed his full repertoire of shots to take 11 games on the trot.

Such was Federer confidence that at 2-0 up in the second set, he produced an outrageous half-volley passing shot winner from the baseline.

A demoralised Henman could do little but shrug his shoulders as he watched winner after winner whizz past his outstretched racket.

The cheering crowd did their best to lift the spirits of their hero at the start of the third set but failed to halt Federer's charge.

The top seed completed Henman's 85-minute humiliation on Centre Court with his sixth ace.

The Briton, now ranked 64th, felt he did not need to hang his head in shame despite the nature of the defeat.

''I'm sure I'm not the first person to lose (a set 6-0) to him and I won't be the last because he's that good,'' said Henman.

''It's disappointing that I couldn't have a bigger impact in the match but I think for the large part you're just not allowed to because of the level that he plays so continuously well.

''He's the best player I've ever played against, full stop...

and he was just too good today.'' Reuters SK VP0148

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