WIMBLEDON, England – Tim Henman couldn't end Britain's 63-year wait for a Wimbledon men's singles finalist, falling Sunday to Goran Ivanisevic before thousands of downcast countrymen.
Ivanisevic took his biggest step yet in his climb back from tennis oblivion, reaching the final at his sport's top tournament for the fourth time.
The semifinal -- suspended Friday by darkness and Saturday by rain -- ended Sunday when Henman's service return sailed wide, giving Ivanisevic a 7-5, 6-7 (6), 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Ivanisevic's reaction was subdued, for him.
He smiled, fell flat on his back, blew a kiss to the crowd and crossed himself. Then he stood on his chair at the sidelines and lifted his arms. In two previous victories, he yanked his shirt over his head and flung it to the crowd.
Henman -- disappointing his fans on Henman Hill and the hopefuls in the ticket queue for Monday's final -- raised his left hand, applauded the crowd and then walked off, his racket bag slung over his left shoulder and his equipment bag over his right.
Ivanisevic, right beside him, smiled some more.
"He felt the pressure. I felt the pressure, and Monday's going to be another great pressure," said Ivanisevic, bidding to become the first player to win Wimbledon as a wild-card entry.
Patrick Rafter stands in his way. The Australian, seeded second, has been waiting since his five-set victory Friday over Andre Agassi to learn who he'd play next.
He was supposed to find out Friday, but darkness that followed a two-hour rain delay caused the match to be suspended until Saturday with Henman leading 2-1 in sets and 2-1 in the fourth set.
He also expected to know Saturday, but rain limited the players to just 52 minutes on the court. That was enough time for Ivanisevic to come back for a 7-5 fourth-set win and a 3-2 lead in the fifth when play was halted.
"Sometimes those breaks can hinder you, sometimes those breaks can help you," a calm Henman said.
The loss left Bunny Austin as the most recent British men's finalist. He did it in 1938. The last British man to win was Fred Perry in 1936.
Ivanisevic reached the finals in 1992, 1994 and 1998 -- losing to Agassi the first time and Pete Sampras the next two.
The left-handed Croat ended 1998 ranked 12th in the world, then wrestled with shoulder problems last year, finishing at 129th -- his lowest since 1988. He started Wimbledon ranked 125th and was unseeded in the tournament.
But strong serving carried him through the first half of the tournament and effective returns brought him Sunday's win, in which the match was completed in just four games and 25 points.
Overcast skies lightened and drizzle stopped about a half-hour before the match was restarted for the last time.
The gloom didn't keep hundreds of fans from lining up on adjacent Wimbledon Park Road -- some in sleeping bags, a woman wrapped in a blue blanket and leaning on a banner saying "Tim Henman Hill Posse" -- hoping that when ticket sales began for the championship match Henman would be in it.
With thousands of his supporters sitting on the newly-nicknamed hill inside Wimbledon and watching the match on a huge video screen, Henman held serve in the sixth game of the last set -- the first played Sunday.
Then he went up 0-30 on Ivanisevic's serve, Henman's best chance of the day. But Ivanisevic held his serve with two aces and a service winner.
Henman was in trouble from the start of the eighth game. He fell behind 15-40, giving Ivanisevic two break points. But he tied it at 40-40.
Then Henman double-faulted. He lost the game on the next point when he hit a low volley into the net off Ivanisevic's service return.
Ivanisevic, the game's toughest server when he's on, merely had to hold his serve to win. But Henman saved one match point, leaving the score at deuce in the last game.
Then Ivanisevic fired his 36th ace, coming after a fault, before Henman's final service return went out.
"I just said to myself, `just put more returns' " in than in previous matches, Ivanisevic said. "It's tough to wait and think who is going to win, me or him, but this is great."