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 Nadal-conqueror Soderling marches into semis

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PostSubject: Nadal-conqueror Soderling marches into semis   Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:53 am

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


PARIS:
Sweden’s Robin Soderling, conqueror of Rafael Nadal, marched into his first ever Grand Slam semi-final with a superb 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 win over Russian Nikolay Davydenko at the French Open here on Tuesday.

Soderling, the 23rd seed and world number 25, will play either British third seed Andy Murray or Chile’s 12th seed Fernando Gonzalez for a place in the final. The 24-year-old becomes the first Swedish French Open semifinalist since his coach Magnus Norman in 2000.

“He surprised me, he played really well,” said Davydenko. “I tried to play better, to get some control from the baseline and play some long rallies with some top-spin, but he kept making winners. He just played faster.”

Soderling survived two break points in his opening service game before breaking Davydenko twice in succession, the Russian netting backhands at the critical moment on both occasions.

Davydenko, playing on his 28th birthday, was at times made to look statuesque by Soderling’s strafing groundstrokes and pinpoint returning, with the Swede wrapping up the first set in just 23 minutes.

World number 11 Davydenko, a Roland Garros semifinalist in 2005 and 2007, saved four break points early in the second set, but Soderling refused to be deterred, finally securing the break in game seven when Davydenko found the net with a forehand.

Soderling’s inspired shot-making continued as he opened up a two-set lead and he totted up yet more sensational winners in an uncompetitive third set to prolong his fairytale run on the Paris clay.


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