Ferrero joins an ever-growing list

 

TENNIS: Another men's seed failed to take root yesterday. Once more a lucky loser from the qualifying tournament, American Jeff Morrison, belied the ranking system in this year's championship. Now out of the draw after day four are the second, third, sixth, seventh, eighth and now the ninth favourite player Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Ferrero, who reached the third round last year before losing to Greg Rusedski, was expected to advance brusquely against a player who only entered the draw after German player Tommy Haas was forced to withdraw. So little was known about the 23-year-old from West Virginia, he was nonchantly being referred to by many people as Jim (an endless source of hip references) and was appearing only for the second time in a Grand Slam event. As a wild card in the 1999 US Open, he lost in the first round.

Ferrero admitted to having practised for Wimbledon on synthetic grass in Spain because there was no time following the French Open, where he reached his first Grand Slam final. Albert Costa, the winner in Paris didn't even bother coming, prompting questions on the ability of players to deliver on the physical demands of two Grand Slam events staged so close together.

Top seed Lleyton Hewitt confidently held his game together against French qualifier Gregory Carraz. Hewitt is one of those players whose disposition you can read from his face with a colour-coded chart ranging from pink to poppy red. He remained in the pink zone with little sign of the bulging temple. He broke in the 10th game for the first set 6-4, before a difficult tie-break broke the back of the contest.

Carraz shot to a 5-2 lead in the set decider only to hand Hewitt the next five points for 7-6. There Carraz's hopes foundered, Hewitt jumping on the match claiming the 6-2 third without much stress.

Tim Henman, or 'Tiger Tim' as he is hilariously nicknamed, sent the usual Centre Court hearts fluttering against Australian qualifier Scott Draper in yesterday's evening match but advanced confidently to round three after a nervous start where he lost the first set 3-6. Henman then took control for 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 and now meets veteran South African Wayne Ferreira.