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Henman Sets Up Santoro Final On Special Night In London

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Henman© Getty ImagesTim Henman rallied to defeat Goran Ivanisevic.

With HRH The Duke of Cambridge, World No.1 Novak Djokovic, and Bjorn Borg watching, Tim Henman set up a Statoil Masters Tennis final with birthday boy Fabrice Santoro at the Royal Albert Hall.

Defending champion Henman came back from a set down to beat Goran Ivanisevic 4-6, 6-2, 10-6 in a thrilling clash which befit the occasion.

"I have loved playing here this evening in front of such special company,” said Henman. “I'm glad we could put on a good show, and of course I'm glad I'm in the final.”

The Royal Albert Hall was transformed into a winter wonderland for the Winter Whites themed evening, and all of the stars of the Statoil Masters Tennis walked the blue carpet into the arena, having their photos taken by the press pack along the way.

The evening was held in aid of the charity Centrepoint, which seeks to eradicate youth homelessness. Djokovic received The Centrepoint Great Britain Youth Inspiration Award for the work his foundation has done to help young people.

Ivanisevic got off to a flying start, swiping winners off both sides as he took the opening set. Henman changed his angle of attack in the second set, often chip-charging to great effect. Henman quickly established a lead in the Champions’ Tie-Break, and held onto it for a 10-6 victory.

“It's great to be able to do something like this for such a worthy cause and I thank each and every person that came out in support tonight,” said Henman. "I am feeling fit and I'm playing well, better than last year I think. I'm still glad we get a tie break for a third set though! I love playing Goran always and I think we both have special memories of that match at Wimbledon, though mine obviously don't end as well as his!"

Earlier, Santoro reached his first final at the Royal Albert Hall after bamboozling and beating Carlos Moya 6-2, 6-3.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Santoro, who will have have a special reason to celebrate on Sunday. “Tomorrow I’ll be on the court in my 40th birthday. When you change decade it’s always a special feeling but to be on the court at the Royal Albert Hall - there’s no better place to be.”

Henman and Santoro faced each other eight times in their careers, with Henman holding a 6-2 advantage.

They will clash at 5pm local time. Before then, at 12 Noon, John McEnroe will meet Mats Wilander in the Legends final.

Tickets to the Statoil Masters Tennis in the Royal Albert Hall are now available, with prices from £17.50 per person.  

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