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Henman hoping to make it three in row.

Byline: Us Open Tennis

Tim Henman is hopeful of completing a hat-trick of wins against Michal Tabara when they meet in the third round of the US Open.

The British number one shrugged off his back problems to beat France's Jerome Golmard 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-1) last night.

Tabara, of the Czech Republic, later pulled off a surprise 6-3 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3 success over America's Olympic silver medallist Mardy Fish.

Henman holds the upper hand from previous meetings, having prevailed in straight sets in Cincinnati in 2001 and Brighton a year earlier.

"I feel like I'm hitting the ball well, I'm serving very, very well and if I can just start to move a little bit better, I've got a very good chance," Henman told Sky Sports 2.

"I couldn't walk on Sunday morning so it's a bit early to start talking about having my best ever US Open, but I feel a lot better."

The win over Golmard took just less than three hours and Henman was very happy with his form, having struggled to beat Croatia's Ivo Karlovic 7-6 6-7 4-6 6-4 6-4 in round one.

He added: "I'm pleased to get through. I feel physically I was a lot better than I was in my first match and that's a good sign."

Andre Agassi booked his place in the third round. He was 7-5 2-6 6-2 1-0 ahead when Florian Mayer retired.

The two-time champion now meets 25th seed Jiri Novak, a 7-5 6-1 6-3 winner over Alex Calatrava.

Olympic men's singles champion Nicolas Massu suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Sargus Sargsian of Armenia in the second-longest US Open match on record - five hours, nine minutes.

Only Stefan Edberg's defeat of Michael Chang in the 1992 men's semi-final, at 5:26, took longer.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2004
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