Ljubicic fights back into Stockholm semis

Fourth seed Ivan Ljubicic made a great escape from a potential fellow Croatian spoiler, earning a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback win into the semi-finals of the Stockholm Open on Friday over qualifier Ivan Dodig.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 22 Oct 2010, 8:44 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:14 AM

The 31-year-old Ljubicic, who lifted the first Masters 1000 title of the season last March at Indian Wells, will play the winner from the Swiss pair of world number two Roger Federer and fifth seed Stanislas Wawrinka.

Federer, who played his 900th career match Thursday as he beat Taylor Dent at the Kungligahallen, is looking for another season of 50 wins. He can achieve that by defeating his good friend and Olympic gold medal doubles partner Wawrinka.

Flying Finn Jarkko Nieminen continued to storm through a career comeback, winning his 11th match since the US Open.

The resurgent number 45 thrashed James Blake 6-0, 6-2 in 49 minutes to hand the two-time Stockholm champion only his second defeat at the tournament against 15 victories.

Blake went into the contest leading Nieminen 6-0, with five of their contests going to three sets.

But there was no mistaking the fire in the Finn’s game. “I’ve always said that I’ve been practising well. But it has only now started translating to matches.

“I’ve had a great run since New York, I’m feeling very confident with my game. I knew it would only be a matter of time. I’m a truthful guy and I say what I mean - I Knew that sooner or later things would turn.

“I trust myself to really play well now,” said Nieminen.

Nieminen will take on the winner from second seed Robin Soderling of Sweden and German Florian Mayer. Nieminen lost Stockholm finals in 2001 and in 2006 to Blake. Soderling lost a pair in 2003 and 2008.

Ljubicic needed a set to find his game against Dodig, the number 132 who began his week by beating eighth seed Tommy Robredo and was competing in his second career ATP quarter-final.

The veteran who trained with Federer this week in front of a standing-room only crowd of 5,000 at the venerable royal tennis hall, recovered against Dodig after losing the first set in 55 minutes.

He took the second on a double break and went up an early break in the final set to finally post his 23 win of the season against 16 losses.

“I had some chances in the first set which I didn’t manage to take,” said the winner. “But I know Ivan’s game well, and there is nothing that I can do on court that he had not already seen.

“I’m just happy to be in the semi-finals and I’ll be watching Roger’s match tonight. It would be great to play him, as we’ve not played in an official match in two years.”

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