Competing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, Roger Federer lost to Tim Henman 7-5 7-6 2-6 7-6 in three hours and 13 minutes, unable to continue where he left in the previous round against the defending champion Pete Sampras.
It was their third meeting and the third victory for the home star who won two points more than Roger overall, prevailing in the decisive moments in sets he won to advance into the semi-final. Tim grabbed a break in the 11th game of the opener, with no breaks of serve in set number two and a tight tie break where Roger had a 6-3 advantage.
With no sign of nerves, Henman grabbed five straight points to steal the set and forge a massive two sets to love advantage, taking a big step towards the finish line. Federer bounced back with a double break in the third set and fought hard in the fourth as well (Tim served for the win at 5-3) to reach a tie break where he opened a solid 5-2 lead.
Still, it wasn't to be for him, with Henman turning the tables and winning the breaker 8-6 to seal the deal and move into the semis, leaving the youngster empty-handed. "I'm very disappointed; I think it's pretty normal after missing so many chances.
I had a good week but it's very frustrating losing this way like today. Compliments are always nice but that didn't help me; I have to prove that on the court. I couldn't get through the match; that's why I'm very disappointed, having enough chances to at least reach the fifth set.
I will be back next year and take at least one step further. I was much more nervous playing Pete than playing Tim today. He played a good game, breaking me there in the first, and also again to win the set there. I mean, if I could have made the second-set tiebreaker, it would have been a different story."