Srichaphan revival stuns Johansson

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The Independent Online

Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan yesterday won his first grass-court title at the Nottingham Open with an amazing fightback against Thomas Johansson of Sweden.

Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan yesterday won his first grass-court title at the Nottingham Open with an amazing fightback against Thomas Johansson of Sweden.

Srichaphan lost the first set 6-1 in just 20 minutes and trailed 4-1 in the second before staging a recovery to win 1-6 7-6 6-3 and claim the £36,197 first prize.

"It's a dream to come back and win the match because Thomas was playing really well in the beginning," he said after his fifth career title.

"His returning gave me a hard time and I could not really play my game at all. Things happen so quickly on grass and I just tried to hold my serve and see if he could serve out for the match.

"At 3-5 and 0-30 down in the second set I was thinking, 'This is going to be a quick day for me!' I was telling myself it was not going to be my day.

"But I thought about the final I played in Washington in 2002 against James Blake, when I won the first set 6-1 and was a break up in the second but lost the match, and I just tried to make the turn- around like that match."

Srichaphan has one day off before playing his first-round match at Wimbledon tomorrow, where he faces Ivo Karlovic, the 6ft 10in Croatian who beat defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round last year.

"I don't think I am ready to win a Grand Slam yet," said Srichaphan, who reached the fourth round in SW19 last year and beat Andre Agassi in the second round in 2002.

"I have to play more consistently, because in a Grand Slam you have to play two weeks of tennis and best-of- five-set matches. My goal is always to reach the second week, and if you win one more match you are in the quarter-finals."

Johansson, who is in the same section of the draw as Srichaphan and faces Germany's Nicolas Kiefer tomorrow, said: "I played well the whole week and I was just a little bit unlucky.

"All credit to Paradorn, he lifted his game up when I was serving for the match and played a good breaker, and in the third set he was the better player."

It was the first time the top seed had reached the final, but Srichaphan looked anything but as he was completely outplayed in the opening set.

Johansson had not reached a final since winning the Australian Open in January 2002, missing the whole of last year with a knee injury.

Srichaphan fell to his knees in celebration and then rushed to embrace his father and coach, Chanachai, when Johansson netted a final forehand return.

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