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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Jarkko News and Articles

Yes, it's an old article and with Jarkko's grandfather dying this is one of the very good things to happen to him this year.

Nieminen finally breaks tour duck

Jan 15, 2006
By Alan Granville at the ASB Tennis Centre

Jarkko Nieminen has always believed he would make the grade and win an ATP Tour title, but even he wasn't anticipating it would take place in Auckland this week.

The 24-year-old left-hander, a pro for six years, has toiled away on the circuit, every now and then he pops his head above the parapet and gets commentators struggling to pronounce his surname before dropping back off the radar.

But the Finn will never forget his six days of competition at the Heineken Open as he battled through five matches to take his first ever title and the first victory for a Finn ever in final.

The 6-2 6-2 victory over Croat Mario Ancic was beamed back to Finland live giving some bleary-eyed tennis fans in Helsinki a chance to cheer on their new hero.

His victory was made all the more unlikely as in two previous visits to Auckland he had never won a set, losing in the first round in 2002 to another Croatian, Goran Ivanisevic, and in 2004 to Fabrice Santoro.

Tennis in Finland has struggled to gain a foot hold in a country dominated by strong men competitors, ice hockey and motor racers.

But Nieminen is blazing a trail in the Scandinavian country and earlier in the week admitted he hoped his success would help inspire the country's children to take up a racket.

Four defeats in finals did not dampen his belief that one day he would finally triumph.

"I didn't feel any pressure because of it but now I have won a title it will be easier for me next time when I play in other finals.

"For me and my country this win is a very big thing, it is difficult to put into words how I feel."

The world number 29 said he was always confident about winning an ATP final.

"I was always asked these questions when I lost in the four finals and many times in the semifinals. I think I was the highest ranked player never to win a title so I would always be asked these questions.

"But I knew my game is good enough to win a title. I always believed in myself. I had a very colourful year last year. I pulled a stomach muscle at the Australian Open and I couldn't play for a few weeks and my ranking dropped to about 140 but I still believed that if I kept working hard that I would come back.

"Last year was my best year in ranking by getting to the top 30 and I got a lot of confidence from that. I couldn't get a better start to this year than a title."

Victory at the Heineken Open should lift his world ranking to outside the top 20 but knows he needs to find another level if he wants to break the top 15.

He reached the last eight at the US Open last year, his best Grand Slam placing.

"It's hard; I have to go far in the big tournaments. I have to do well in the Grand Slams and the Masters.

"I have to take the confidence from here to Melbourne. It has always been an ambition of mine to play well there. I just need to get some rest and focus on that."

Nieminen will play Austrian wildcard Marc Kimmich in the first round at the Australian Open and will be hoping to keep his great start to 2006 going.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".

Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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