Bjorkman reaches doubles milestone in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Jonas Bjorkman played his 1,000th career ATP doubles match on Wednesday, teaming with Kevin Ullyett to defeat Americans Scott Lipsky and David Martin 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Stockholm Open.

Bjorkman received a cake on center court of the Royal Tennis Hall.

The 36-year-old Swede, who has won nine Grand Slam doubles titles, has 698 wins in doubles. He could reach the 700-mark with his 53rd title in Sunday's final.

"It would be super cool," said Bjorkman, a two-time Stockholm Open winner in doubles. "It's fun to reach such milestones. We have played two really good matches here so far. They gave us no free points. They're very good."

Cyril Suk of the Czech Republic leads the list with 1,147 doubles matches (618 wins and 529 losses) on the ATP Tour.

In singles, third-seeded Jarkko Nieminen rallied from a set down to defeat Thomaz Bellucci 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5 in the first round.

The Finn earned the decisive break to go up 6-5 in the third set when Bellucci's forehand sailed long. Nieminen then held his serve to close out the match.

"I didn't believe he could serve so well," said Nieminen, the 2001 finalist. "He also played well otherwise. I was somewhat passive in the beginning. Then I played more aggressive. I kept thinking positive and fought until the end."

Rainer Schuettler of Germany and Oscar Hernandez of Spain reached the quarterfinals in different fashion.

The fifth-seeded Schuettler beat former top-10 player Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador 7-6 (6), 6-3, and Hernandez rallied from a set down to top sixth-seeded Jose Acasuso of Argentina 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In other first-round matches, George Bastl of Switzerland outlasted fellow qualifier Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 7-6 (6), 3-6, 7-6 (4); Arnaud Clement of France routed Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist 6-2, 6-1; seventh-seeded Albert Montanes of Spain ousted former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson of Sweden 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; and No. 4 Robin Soderling of Sweden beat Benjamin Becker of Germany 7-5, 6-3.

Bjorkman, who reached a career-best No. 4 ranking in singles in 1997, lost his opening singles on Tuesday in straight sets to Juan Monaco -- his last in Sweden and most likely his last on the tour. After 16 years on the tour, Bjorkman is retiring after this season. Bjorkman and Ullyett are sixth in the ATP Doubles Race.

"We have two or three tournaments left, Madrid, Paris and maybe one more depending on the race, and then hopefully the season-ending event," Bjorkman said.