Henman puts GB in the driving seat

Tim Henman held his nerve to give Great Britain a commanding 2-0 lead after the opening singles rubbers in their World Group play-off tie with Croatia at Wimbledon on Friday.

The 33-year-old beat late replacement Roko Karanusic, who took the place of Ivan Ljubicic after illness struck the Croatian No. 1 earlier in the day.

Henman built on the lead that Andy Murray had given the hosts when he beat Marin Cilic 3-6 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-3 in the opening match of the tie.

“We’re in a great position but the job’s not done just yet,” warned the British number two, who won 6-4 6-3 6-3.

“The most important thing is for us to get three wins as soon as we possibly can, and that will be the goal in the doubles tomorrow.

“It was a difficult match in some respects as I thought I’d be playing Ivan [Ljubicic] and that’s the match I’d been preparing myself for and I only got to know that he wasn’t going to be able to play earlier today, so I had to make some pretty quick adjustments mentally.

“I think he’s gone to hospital for some tests – hopefully he’ll be back to full health as soon as possible.

“In terms of the match it was difficult not getting too emotional but I think I did a pretty good job of just concentrating on getting the job done as I was particularly pleased with my consistency.

“Now we’ve got an excellent chance of winning the tie but we can’t afford to get too carried away – the jobs not done yet.”

Earlier in the day Murray had struggled at times in his match but crucially managed to find a way to win without being able to play his best.

“It was tough out there – it seemed really windy,” explained Murray. “I didn’t play my best but I got through and winning matches is all that matters.

“In terms of a win it was very satisfying. To win another five-setter on my comeback is good. I thought he played really well, he served great the first few sets and he dealt with the occasion really well. He made it really difficult for me.

“I was little bit nervous towards the end of the second set – not so much at the start of the match – but when I got the second I calmed down a bit and started to play better.”

GB captain John Lloyd refused to be drawn on who with play in the doubles rubber tomorrow, and Henman explained that the decision had yet to be made.

“If needed I’m ready,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll have a sit down later and see how everybody’s feeling and make our decision then.”

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