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Bogdanovic savours best-ever result to reach semi.

Britain's Alex Bogdanovic continued his good start to the grass-court season at Surbiton by beating the man who knocked Pete Sampras out of Wimbledon last year.

The 19-year-old from Middlesex won 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in his quarter-final against Switzerland's George Bastl, who beat the seven-times Wimbledon champion in the second round at the 2002 All-England Championships.

Bogdanovic controlled the match with his swinging serve and accurate volleying but admitted that his game went awry during the second set.

'He picked up his game and I didn't return too well,' said the teenager. 'But in the third I stayed aggressive and went after his serve.

'This was probably the best result of my career so far; my first semi-final at challenger level and against a man who has beaten Sampras although he has dropped in the rankings.'

Bogdanovic revealed one direct benefit of his efforts this week, namely a wild card straight into the Stella Artois Championship at Queen's Club in London next week, thereby bypassing this weekend's qualifying competition and relieving him of one problem.

However, he still has the problem of the Wimbledon wild card play-offs which he is due to play tomorrow. Should he reach the Surbiton final, he could have to play three matches on that day.

'I'm just focusing on my matches here. I'll deal with that when the time comes and if I have to, I'll play three matches on Sunday.'

The prospect of an all-British final is also possible. Greg Rusedski's match with Wesley Moodie of South Africa in the remaining quarter-final was rained off and will be played today.

'It would be great to be in an all-British final,' said Bogdanovic, who will face the big-hitting Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the last four.

Anne Keothavong, world ranked 167 but about to be confirmed as British No 1 when the new rankings are published on Monday, was forced to withdraw from the Surbiton Trophy with a wrist injury.

Keothavong aggravated the injury on Thursday during her quarter-final victory over Jane O'Donoghue but had indicated it was just 'a nuisance' and 'not a problem'.

However, during practice for her semi-final match with Korea's Yoon Jeong Cho of Korea, world ranked 49 and the top seed in the tournament, the 'niggle' became a 'problem'.

Coach Tony Pickard said: 'It's tendinitis but it could clear up in a few days with proper rest.'

Keothavong said: 'It's worse than it was yesterday. It's a shame and the timing is bad.'

Despite the setback, she is determined to play in Birmingham at the DFS Classic next week and has asked for a late start for her opening match.

CAPTION(S):

Alex Bogdanovic lines up a back-hand in his Surbiton win
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Title Annotation:Tennis
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 7, 2003
Words:451
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