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Vinciguerra Makes Fairytale Comeback

Bastad, Sweden

Andreas Vinciguerra© Arne Forsell/BildbyrånAndreas Vinciguerra has been plagued by a succession of injuries since 2001.

On Friday at the Catella Swedish Open in Bastad, home wild card Andreas Vinciguerra reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final in eight years after defeating No. 4 seed Jurgen Melzer 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

It is a remarkable turn around for the 28 year old, who had not played a tournament since the Kolding Challenger in October 2006 when he made his comeback in Davis Cup action for Sweden in March. He last reached an ATP World Tour semi-final at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris (l. to Kafelnikov) in October 2001.

Since his comeback, the left-hander has gone from unranked to his current position of No. 460 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, courtesy of reaching the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Rome and winning a match against Robby Ginepri at the World Team Championship.

It is still a far cry from the career-high of No. 33 he reached in 2001, before being struck down by a succession of injuries. The Malmo native broke his finger in 2002 and also struggled with back problems before a serious left knee injury struck him in 2003.

Despite reaching the Sopot quarter-finals in July 2003, the Swede continued to be plagued by the injury to his left knee and was completely sidelined from the ATP World Tour in 2007 and ’08 as he underwent a fifth surgery on his knee in January ‘08.

Vinciguerra, who lives just one hour south of Bastad, has great memories of the Catella Swedish Open, having reached the final in 1999 (l. to Marin) and 2000 (l. to Norman). He has played the best tennis of his career in the area, in 2000 also capturing the title in Copenhagen - only a one and a half hours drive from Bastad.

After his quarter-final victory over Guillermo Canas on Thursday, Vinciguerra said: “This is what you practise for - to play in front of such a great crowd at home. Most aspects of my game clicked today but it's always tough to play someone who runs everything down and gets nearly every shot back.”

Vinciguerra will face countryman Robin Soderling in the semi-finals on Saturday as he looks to reach his fifth ATP World Tour final.

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