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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Johansson eases past Nalbandian
By Mark Barden
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Thomas Johansson
Thomas Johansson reached his first-ever Wimbledon semi-final with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 6-2 win over David Nalbandian.

The 12th-seeded Swede, contesting his first quarter-final in SW19, always had the upper hand against the Argentine 18th seed, the losing finalist in 2002.

Nalbandian, who defeated Britain's Andy Murray in the third round, found himself battling to hold serve from the start against a determined opponent.

Johansson's serve, apart from a single first-set break, was rarely threatened.

Nalbandian was broken in the third game of the opening set but broke back five games later for 4-4.

A see-saw tie-break saw no less than seven breaks, with Johansson holding his nerve to finally come out on top after a set lasting an hour and 13 minutes.

I couldn't believe it when I heard I was the oldest guy left in the draw, but I'm happy to be the oldest guy in the semis
Thomas Johansson

The Swede stepped up a gear in the second, making light of Nalbandian's better record on grass, with breaks in the second and eighth games.

The Argentine briefly raised hopes of another comeback from two sets down, as he did against Murray, with a break at the start of the third.

But Johansson broke back immediately, and Nalbandian then surrendered a 40-0 lead in his next service game to go 3-1 down.

The Swede then broke his disconsolate opponent yet again to clinch what turned out to be a comfortable victory and now faces Andy Roddick.

Johansson, 30, the oldest man to make it through to the last eight this year, is the first Swedish semi-finalist since Stefan Edberg in 1993.

The 2002 Australian Open champion, now back to something like his best after a serious knee injury, said: "This has been one of the best weeks of my life.

"A lot of people didn't think I was going to be able to come back after my injury, but I worked really hard and I feel a lot stronger than I was before.

"It will be very tough against Andy in the semi-finals, but I think I have a chance.

"I know when I play my best tennis I can compete with the big boys - I know what it takes to win a Grand Slam."




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Highlights: Wimbledon men's quarter-finals


Interview: Twelfth seed Thomas Johansson



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