Nieminin completes confidence-boosting Stockholm rout

Sixth seed Jarkko Nieminen steadied his game after a wobble last week in Asia, crushing German qualifier Tobias Kamke 6-1, 6-2 on Monday to charge into the second round of the Stockholm Open.

The flashy Finn erased memories of a second-round loss in Tokyo where he was upset by number 90 Serb Boris Pashanski.

Nieminen, who has honed his game from the start of his career in neighbouring Sweden, looked invincible on his self-proclaimed ‘home court’ at the Kungliga Hallen with victory in 67 minutes over Kamke, a 21-year-old ranked 254.

“A win is always a win, it gives you self-confidence,” said Nieminen.

“I couldn’t ask for more from a first round match.

“It was a very even performaance compared to last week, I’m very happy with losing just one point on my own serve in the first set.”

The German came up short in the first ATP-level match of his career, plagued by six double faults and five breaks of serve.

Nieminen will now have two days without a match, before resuming on Thursday against the winner from Germany’s Benjamin Becker and Australian Peter Luczak.

“It’s good to know that I play on Thursday and have doubels as well. That way, it won’t be like starting the tournament again when I resume the singles.”

Nieminen has a proud history at the event, losing the 2006 final to American James Blake and reaching the 2001 final as a qualifier, where he was beaten by Dutchman Sjeng Schalken.

Spain’s Albert Montanes won his opening match over Rohan Bopanna of India 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.

As the last of the players arrived on Monday from Tokyo, David Ferrer was looking for a quick turnaround after winning the Tokyo title on Sunday.

The second-seeded Spaniard will make his start on Wednesday against Swedish wild card Michael Ryderstedt.

Ferrer stands a solid sixth in the points chase for November’s Masters Cup, leading Blake who is provisional ninth for the eight-man wrapup in Shanghai.

Ferrer will need to hold off the top seed as the American attempts to collect a hat-trick of titles here after winning the last two editions.

Should he make it three in a row, Blake could overhaul both provisional number seven Fernando Gonzalez of Chile and number eight Tommy Robredo, the weekend winner in Metz over Britain’s Andy Murray.

Robredo withdrew from Stockholm after winning in France and reaching the Beijing final last month. He looks set to resume next week at the Madrid Masters.

Ferrer would be keen to lift his second title in as many weeks after thrashing Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Asia.

“It gives me an extra motivation for the last few events to play this year,” said the Spaniard. “I know I’m close (to a Shanghai place) but I’ve not qualified yet.

“I must concentrate on every match and keep winning.”

German Tommy Haas, standing 12th in the Shanghai race, could vault to seventh in the chase should he reach the Stockholm final after losing in a 2004 semi-final to Andre Agassi.


Björn Borg’s son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut

Four decades after Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg won a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, his 16-year-old son Leo Borg is reportedly set to make his debut at the tournament.

Björn Borg's son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut
Leo Borg's Wimbledon debut is yet to be officially confirmed. Photo: Hanna Franzén/TT

According to reports in British tabloid The Sun and Swedish tabloid Expressen, Borg will be awarded a wildcard to play in the Wimbledon junior event.

“Leo is very grateful about getting a wildcard for the qualifiers to junior Wimbledon,” Björn Borg told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

“It will be an incredible experience and useful practice for the future,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Wimbledon tournament did not want to confirm the decision, only saying that wildcard announcements and the main draw for the Juniors tournament would be made next week.

If confirmed, Leo Borg’s Wimbledon debut comes 39 years after Björn Borg defeated American rival John McEnroe, winning him his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.

The iconic match has been called one of the greatest matches of all time and the story was adapted for the screen in the 2017 feature film Borg vs McEnroe, where Leo, bearing a striking resemblance to his fatther, played a younger version of Björn Borg.

During the 1970s and early 1980s Björn Borg won a total of 11 Grand Slam titles, five Wimbledons and six French Opens.

Björn Borg after winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in 1980. Photo: Scanpix/TT