Johansson shocks top seed Agassi
Johansson had lost all six of his previous matches with Agassi
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Swede Thomas Johansson shocked top seed Andre Agassi 3-6 6-3 7-6 in a thrilling final at the Stockholm Open, to pick up his first title since the 2002 Australian Open.
After losing the first set the 29-year-old broke Agassi twice in the next for a 4-0 lead. Agassi grabbed a break back before Johansson served out to take the match into a final set.
The decider was in the balance right until the closing stages of a dramatic tiebreak.
"This was probably my best match ever," said Johansson, who was unseeded in the $822,000 event.
"I can't remember when I played this well. Even if I had lost today I would have said this was one of my best matches."
The Swede went into the third set on a roll and broke Agassi's opening service game. He went on to hold serve until 4-3, when a couple of close calls helped Agassi break back to 4-4.
Agassi had another close call in his favor in the next game but nothing seemed to demoralize Johansson and the two players held serve until the tiebreak.
A wide forehand by Agassi gave Johansson a break for 3-1 in the tiebreak and he followed up with a superb forehand return to take a 4-1 lead.
Agassi broke back to 4-3 but then hit a backhand too long giving Johnasson a 5-3 lead before another good return by the Swede made it 6-3.
Agassi saved the first match point with a passing shot but Johansson made no mistake on his second, as he hammered an ace past the American to make it 7-4 and seal the win.
It was the Swede's first victory over Agassi in seven encounters, his eighth tournament win and third appearance in a Stockholm Open final.
He won the tournament in 2000 and reached the final in 1998.
"Thomas was too good today," said Agassi, still in the chase to qualify for a Masters Cup place next month.
"He hit too many good shots, his game was too strong. He played better for two of the three sets, the result was deserving. He did everything really well."