Johansson's progress sparks conflict of loyalty

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The Independent Online

"Come on, baby!" Jaslyn Hewitt's support for Joachim Johansson, her Swedish boyfriend, was clear on Thursday night as he ended Andy Roddick's reign as US Open champion in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Today, Jaslyn is likely to be low-key when the 6ft 6in Johansson towers over her older brother, Lleyton, as they duel for a place in the final.

"Come on, baby!" Jaslyn Hewitt's support for Joachim Johansson, her Swedish boyfriend, was clear on Thursday night as he ended Andy Roddick's reign as US Open champion in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Today, Jaslyn is likely to be low-key when the 6ft 6in Johansson towers over her older brother, Lleyton, as they duel for a place in the final.

Johansson was discreet when discussing the situation. Asked if Jaslyn would be sitting with her family and had guaranteed her support, he said: "I didn't ask her about that, actually." Concerning his relationship with Hewitt, a regular practice partner, he said: "We're good friends, and hopefully we're going to be good friends after the match."

Mats Wilander, the former world No 1 who now captains Sweden's Davis Cup team, was among those predicting great things for the big-serving, 22-year-old Johansson, saying: "He is capable of beating anybody."

A wrist injury in 2001 slowed Johansson's progress, but his potential was clear when he won an ATP Tour title in Memphis in February. But that did not prepare regular observers, particularly Americans, for the shock of his win against Roddick, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4.

Before his quarter-final against Roddick, Johansson had never played a five-set singles match. He had played in the Arthur Ashe Stadium last year, losing in the first round.

Roddick did well to recover after losing the opening two sets, but Johansson refused to budge in the final set, breaking in the concluding game. "You don't need to analyse the match any further than break points had and break points converted," Roddick said. Johansson converted three of five chances, Roddick took three of 15.

"Credit him for bearing down on those points," Roddick added. "The guy's got weapons, and he can still get better in a lot of areas.

"The guy serves out of a tree, and it seemed like he served better when down break points. I had a good look at one in the fifth set, and just missed it."

Roddick doubts Hewitt will miss so many opportunities today. "I don't know if it's the best match-up for Johansson," he said. "Lleyton passes well. He's going

to make a lot of returns. I definitely have to say that Lleyton is the favourite in that one. I just want to see where everyone's going to sit in the guest boxes."

Johansson was raised in Bjorn Borg's home town, Sodertalje, and his father, Leif, was Borg's Davis Cup team-mate in 1974. "I practised with Borg when I was about 14 years old," Johansson junior recalled. "I watched some tapes of him, but I didn't actually see him play live."

Instead of competing in his first Grand Slam semi-final today, Johansson was supposed to be playing golf in Scotland with his father and an uncle to mark his father's 52nd birthday. "I thought I would lose before that," he explained. "It wasn't lack of confidence. It was just the only time I could go on a golf vacation with my family."

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