Norman overcomes cramps to beat Schalken


STOCKHOLM, Sweden, AP

Top-seed Magnus Norman overcame cramps late in the match and a tough challenge from Sjeng Schalken to reach the semifinals of the Stockholm Open on Friday. The Swede won 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (4), ending the match with an ace past the Dutchman before a boisterous sellout crowd at the Royal Tennis Hall. Norman cramped up after hitting another ace in the 12th game of the final set, forcing the tiebreak at 6-6.

After a three-minute visit to the ATP Tour’s trainer, Norman came back and won the tiebreak 7-4. “I cramped up in both thighs,” Norman said. “I couldn’t stand up. I thought it was over. The trainer and an official told me I was finished. They put ice on my thighs and gave me minerals. “They helped me up and I decided to go out and play at least one point (in the tiebreak). I couldn’t serve at full strength. Still I hit two aces. I just didn’t want to let the crowd down so I kept on playing.” Norman, who had a bout with the flu early in the week, will play Thomas Johansson in an all-Swedish semifinal on Saturday. “I’d rate my chances at 100 percent (of playing) — I’m a fighter,” Norman said. Johansson made one of the greatest comebacks in Stockholm Open history, saving five match points before outlasting fellow Swede Jonas Bjorkman in their quarterfinal. Johansson won 6-7 (6), 7-6 (7), 7-5 in a centercourt battle that just got better and better. Twice, Johansson battled back from seemingly hopeless deficits. Down by one set and behind 6-1 in the second-set tiebreak, Johansson saved five match points and came back to win it 9-7 to even the match at one set apiece. Johansson raised his game again in the decisive set, battling back from 1-4 and 15-40 with serve.