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'Lucky loser' Vacek upsets Johansson in Nottingham

6/19/2006 - Tennis

NOTTINGHAM, England -- Jan Vacek upset top-seeded Thomas
Johansson 7-6 (6), 6-7 (11), 6-4 Monday at the Red Letter Days Open
grass-court tournament.

The 245th-ranked Czech took full advantage of his "lucky
loser" entry. Vacek failed to make it through the qualifiers but
gained the last spot in the draw because of the retirement of
fourth-seeded Fernando Verdasco.

Johansson, ranked No. 21, won this event in 2001 and reached the
final in 2004.

"I was so calm because I didn't expect anything," Vacek said.
"I feel really happy right now, and I just hope the happiness
lasts."

Vacek will next face Frenchman Giles Simon, who beat Igor
Kunitsyn of Russia, 6-4, 6-3. Second-seed Dominik Hrbaty needed 55
minutes to beat Wang Yeu-tzuoo of Taiwan 6-0, 6-3.

The Slovakian, looking for his first title in over two years,
will face Andreas Seppi in the quarterfinals. The Italian beat
Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-4.

Playing in his first ATP Tour event of the year, Vacek
frustrated Johansson from the start. The Swede was unable to break
on four separate occasions in the opening set and went down in the
tiebreak.

Both players held serve in the second set until Johansson
converted on his fourth set point. Vacek broke Johansson's serve in
the ninth game of the third set before closing out the match.

Johansson, a former Australian Open winner and a semifinalist at
Wimbledon last year, said that the center court grass was
"dangerous" because it was slippery.

"I cannot do more than tell [the umpire] the court is
dangerous," Johansson said. "He said the court was new and that
was why it was slippery. If the court is like this and they
continue to play then someone is going to get injured."

Officials said weather, including light rain, may have made the
court slicker than usual, and all precautions were taken to keep
the grass covered when necessary.

Richard Gasquet of France begins defense of his title Tuesday
when he plays qualifier Ivan Navarro Pastor of Spain.