After a match filled with breaks, Moya and Henman held serve over and over again. Finally, in the 23rd game of the fifth set, Henman faced break point. It might as well have been match point. He dug out an ace. Then, facing another breaker a few moments later, he conjured a second-serve ace. He held.
Henman won the next two points on Moya's serve, and eventually found himself with a fifth match point. Moya fought it off. Same with the sixth. Then, after his seventh match point and 4 hours and 11 minutes, Tim Henman, 32-years-old, advanced to the second round of his 14th Wimbledon. The score read:
6-3, 1-6, 5-7, 6-2, 13-11
It might have been the match of his life.
Henman is one of those semi-tragic figures in sports. He's on the short-list of best players of his generation never to win a major and in the four chances where he's gotten closest--his four semi-final berths at Wimbledon--he seemed overwhelmed by the burden placed on him by his countrymen. Had he been from Finland, he might well have won one of those championships. (Probably in 2001 when he beat Federer in the quarters--Federer having just taken out Sampras in the previous round.)
That said, he's a fighter and a striver and an old man facing the end of his career. He deserved a win like this.
I was home sick and happened to catch the action on Tuesday. Henman Hill was rocking, and it was nice to see him pull out the match. Such a cliche, but it was a shame someone had to lose.
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