SODERLING STOPS MURRAY TO REACH SFS
Indian Wells, U.S.A.
Sweden’s Robin Soderling knocked out 2009 finalist Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4) on Friday afternoon at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells to reach his first semi-final at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament.
“It feels great, and especially here in Indian Wells, because my record here hasn't been so well,” Soderling said about reaching the semi-finals. “I thought I couldn't do well here, and now I show I really can.”
The sixth-seeded Soderling got off to a rocky start in his quarter-final match, coming up against four break points in the opening game, but recovered quickly as he rolled out to a 5-0 lead before the World No. 4 managed to hold.
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“I was pretty sure before the match that it is almost impossible to outpower Andy because he's moving really well and he puts everything back,” said Soderling. “I really felt it the first game, which was a crucial hold for me. And then after that, I started to play not as aggressive and I was waiting a little bit for my opportunities, and it worked pretty well.”
Murray fell behind another break of serve early in the second set, and failed to deliver on triple break point opportunity in the sixth game, but made a brave comeback attempt in the 11th hour. He fought off three match points while serving down 3-5, and broke Soderling in the next game to stave off elimination.
But Murray conceded the mini-break to start the tie-break, giving the Swede the advantage he needed to complete the straight-sets win. Soderling ripped a winner down the line to earn match point, and celebrated the victory as Murray returned his serve into the net.
“I think he played very well to start with, and I didn't,” said Murray. “I didn't move particularly well. I was hitting the ball really short, and he's obviously got a big game and he was able to dictate all of the points. So from my side it was poor, but he hit the ball really big from the back of the court and served well when he needed to.”
Soderling had never advanced beyond the third round in his five previous appearances at the BNP Paribas Open, but has now reached the semi-finals without the loss of a set, posting wins over Evgeny Korolev, No. 28 seed Feliciano Lopez and No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The 25 year old, currently No. 7 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, broke through last year at Roland Garros when he upset four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round before going on to a runner-up finish (l. to Federer).
He said of his improvement over the last year: “I worked hard, and, I think I changed the way how I think a little bit. A couple years ago I was very focused on playing well all the time. And now what matters to me now is to win matches. Doesn't matter if I play well and win matches or play bad and win matches. You still have to win.”