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Bogdanovic surprises top seed Lee.

Byline: Mark Staniforth In Bolton

The rise and rise of Alex Bogdanovic continued apace when the 17-year-old dealt a 7-5, 6-0 drubbing to top seed Martin Lee in the second round of the National Championships in Bolton yesterday.

Bogdanovic, who had lost in straight sets to Lee in the first round of this tournament last year, called his victory over a player ranked 951 places higher in the world rankings 'the best of my career'.

The Middlesex youngster's composure and backhand passing shots were a joy to watch and left Lee, taking a break from the week-in week-out rigours of chasing the ranking points he needs for automatic entry to next year's Grand Slams, non-plussed.

'I didn't expect to get through - all I wanted was to go out and play my best and if he beat me 6-0, 6-0 I'd walk away and learn from what I did wrong,' said Bogdanovic, who was born in Yugoslavia but did not pick up a tennis racquet until he moved with his family to Britain at the age of eight.

'But this win has given me loads of confidence. I'll focus on the quarter-finals and now I wouldn't be surprised if I went on to win the tournament.'

Bogdanovic is beginning to live up to his billing as the next big thing in British men's tennis. This year he won the Uruguay Bowl in Montevideo and reached the third round of the Australian Open juniors before becoming the first British player ever to reach the semis in the US Open junior competition at Flushing Meadows.

Bogdanovic was rewarded with a spot in Britain's Davis Cup squad for the tie with Portugal as the team's designated hitter and said those experiences had helped to accelerate his development.

'Just to be next to them and hitting with them helps me such a lot. I keep the memories of what their attitude was like on court and I try to do the same,' said Bogdanovic, who meets James Nelson in the last eight today.

Lee, the British No 3, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals in these Championships, was philosophical about his surprise defeat and insisted the manner of it would contribute to his major goal of cracking the world's top hundred.

'I learnt a very big thing today - something to do with my mind - which I would not have learnt if I'd won,' Lee said.

Third seed Barry Cowan struggled through to the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Cambridge's James Layne, despite feeling under the weather.

In the women's competition, 18-year-old Anne Keothavong booked her quarter-final place with a 6-2, 6-1 cruise against Alice Barnes.

She now meets Lucie Ahl, who also dropped just three games against Rebecca Rankin, today.

CAPTION(S):

Alex Bogdanovic produced the best win of his fledgling career, defeating British No 3 Martin Lee in BoltonPicture/ALLSPORT
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Title Annotation:Tennis
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 25, 2001
Words:480
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