Tim Henman tops Roger Federer before suffering the toughest Wimbledon loss



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Tim Henman tops Roger Federer before suffering the toughest Wimbledon loss

Reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in 1996 and 1997, Tim Henman was the biggest hope of the British crowd at home Major for the next decade. Between 1998-2002, Tim was the semi-finalist at the All England Club four times in five years, never making that further step and staying away from the title match.

In 1998 and 1999, Pete Sampras halted the Briton who finally got a chance to go all the way in 2001 when Roger Federer toppled the seven-time champion in the fourth round. In the quarters, Henman prevailed over the young Swiss in four tight sets, reaching the semi-final and facing world no.

125 Goran Ivanisevic in the battle for the place in the final. For many, it was a perfect chance for the Briton to finally reach the title match at Wimbledon, although Goran had other plans. Playing with a wild card and severe shoulder pain, the Croat brought his best tennis to beat five rivals and set the clash against Henman, the one that finds its place in the history of the most significant tennis event.

After three days and numerous rain delays, Goran scored a 7-5, 6-7, 0-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory in three hours and two minutes, securing his spot in the fourth and last Wimbledon final, where no one could expect him when the tournament started.

We saw a real drama from start to finish, with 137 service winners, rain delays and only five breaks of serve.

Goran had break points in just three return games, still doing enough to overcome a dreadful third set and get back into contention, saved by the rain at that point of the encounter.

The Croat clinched the opening set with three consecutive return winners in game 12, and the second set went into a tie break that Henman won 8-6 to gain momentum. Goran faded from the court in set number three, taking just four points and moving away from the court at the beginning of the fourth set when the rain started to fall, offering him a much-needed break.

On Saturday, the Croat returned fresh and motivated, taking the fourth set in the tie break when they had to stop again, sending the final set action to Sunday with Goran leading 3-2. Henman cracked under pressure, getting broken in the eighth game on Goran's third break chance, and the Croat sealed the deal on his serve in game nine for the place in the final, writing one of the most beautiful Wimbledon stories ever. A year later, Henman would reach another semi-final at Wimbledon, losing to Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets.