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Bjorkman Wins 700th Match, Clinches Stockholm Title With Ullyett

Stockholm, Sweden

Kevin Ullyett, Jonas Bjorkman© Getty ImagesKevin Ullyett, Jonas Bjorkman

Top seeds Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Zimbabwean Kevin Ullyett clinched their first team ATP title at the If Stockholm Open, after defeating Swedish wild cards Johan Brunstrom and Michael Ryderstedt 6-1, 6-3 in Sunday’s final, which lasted 55 minutes.

Bjorkman and Ullyett, both 36 years of age, have now captured three Stockholm titles. Bjorkman triumphed previously in 2003 (w/Woodbridge) and 2007 (w/Mirnyi), while Ullyett lifted the trophy in 1999 (w/Norval) and 2002 (w/W. Black).

It was Bjorkman’s 700th doubles match win (700-302 lifetime). Only his former partner Todd Woodbridge (782) and Sherwood Stewart (723) has won more career matches.

"My best memory from Stockholm is when I won the title in 1997,” said Bjorkman, after being carried around Centre Court in a wheelchair by Stockholm tournament staff. “But also my first visit when I qualified to the main draw and was able to stay in the hotel with the other pros. It was a special moment for me."

"The whole week has been fantastic but at the same time it took a lot of energy from me mentally. I'm proud to have won ATP events with 19 different partners during my long career. I'm very fortunate to have played with the greatest doubles players of all time such as John McEnroe and Todd Woodbridge.

"This is a perfect ending for me to win the doubles title in Stockholm, in my last match in Sweden, with my family and friends, old coaches, watching me. The only person was missing today was my son Max who is back at Monte-Carlo in school."

Bjorkman, who also captured the Bastad title with Robin Soderling in July (d. Brunstrom-Rojer), has now won 53 career doubles titles (53-42) with 19 different partners. He has won at least one ATP doubles title for 15 consecutive years (1994-2008).

Ullyett, who won the Nottingham trophy with Bruno Soares in June, improved to 32-24 in ATP doubles finals.

Ullyett said: "I would rank Jonas as one of the top three doubles players ever to play the game alongside with Todd Woodbridge and John McEnroe."

"There was a lot of pressure on me this week. Everyone reminded me all the time it was Jonas' last tournament in Sweden, so they all wanted us to win the title here. We played great together during the week to win our first title of the season. We now look forward to a good week in Madrid to possibly clinch our spot in the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai."

 The experienced doubles players improved to 21-13 together on the season. Earlier this year, the pair finished runner-up at Wimbledon (l. to Nestor-Zimonjic) and made semifinal exits at Las Vegas and ATP Masters Series events in Monte-Carlo and Rome.

Bjorkman and Ullyett broke serve in the fourth and sixth games of the first set, which lasted 24 minutes. The duo won 16 of 22 service points and 11 of 15 return points.

Brunstrom and Ryderstedt, who reached the Stockholm quarterfinals last year (l. to Hanley-Ullyett), also had their serve broken in the fifth and ninth games of the second set. The pair won 31 of 83 points in total.

Brunstrom, 28, dropped to 0-2 in ATP finals, having finished runner-up at Bastad with Jean-Julien Rojer in July this year (l. to Bjorkman-Soderling). He dropped to 10-10 on the season.

"We didn't want to ruin Jonas' farewell match in Sweden so we let them win [laughs]," said 23-year-old Stockholm resident Ryderstedt, who was appearing in the first doubles final of his career. "They played incredible tennis and were just too good for us today."

Bjorkman and Ullyett, who started the week at No. 6 in the ATP 2008 Race with 386 points, collected €37,500 in prize money, while Brunstrom and Ryderstedt will split €22,300.

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Aaron M. Sprecher


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