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TENNIS: Bogdanovic serves up title.

Byline: EMYR JONES

ALEX BOGDANOVIC returned to grass to claim the LTA Manchester Trophy in Didsbury yesterday.

The British number seven, who won his quarter and semi-final matches on an indoor court, collected the first Challenger title of his career with a 6-1 6-3 win over Michal Mertinak of Slovakia.

Having therefore achieved one of his targets for the year, Bogdanovic is hoping to attain ranking inside the top 150 by the end of 2004.

He has a fair way to go before that goal is reached but the 2002 national champion is now at least heading in the right direction.

Bogdanovic's recent run of results have been achieved since the Lawn Tennis Association withdrew the bulk of their funding from the 20-year-old Belgrade-born player. ``Everything has turned round since I got a wild card for Wimbledon, '' said Bogdanovic.

``Before that I was struggling, and my confidence was low with all the things happening around me.

``But even though I lost to (Roger) Federer in the first round (at Wimbledon), I took a lot of positives out of the match.

``I've been a different player since then. ''
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2004
Words:187
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