Re: ATP Finals
Paris Indoors 2010
Robin Soderling will go into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as one of the favourites after winning his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy Sunday with a 6-1, 7-6(1) victory over French contender Gael Monfils in the final of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris-Bercy.
Soderling received 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as champion and consequently will rise to a career-high World No. 4 on Monday, replacing Great Britain’s Andy Murray. The Tibro native is the first Swede to win one of the coveted ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies since Thomas Enqvist defeated Tim Henman in the 2000 Cincinnati final.
“It feels great,” declared two-time Roland Garros runner-up Soderling. “I don't have a very good record in finals, and especially here in Paris. I lost two finals at Roland Garros. Of course it's great to reach the final in a Grand Slam and also in a Masters 1000, but I think a final is that one match you really want to win. I'm really happy that I played well today, and now I'm here winning the title.
“When I won that last point, I just felt so happy and I felt so relieved. I really wanted to win this match so much.”
The 26-year-old Soderling endured a tough road to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and became the fifth player this year to win an ATP World Tour title after being match point down, having saved three match points against Michael Llodra in the semi-finals.
Against Monfils in the final, Soderling overcame his nerves to race to a one-set lead, only dropping six points on his serve and breaking Monfils’ serve twice in the 26-minute opener. Monfils raised his level for a more even contest in the second set, but in the decisive tie-break Soderling quickly seized the initiative and claimed victory in 77 minutes.
“I was extremely nervous before this match,” confessed Soderling. “I didn't sleep much at all last night. I really wanted to do well today, and I'm really happy the way I started the match. I came out playing really well.
“Then after the first set it was a little bit easier for me, even though he started to play a little bit better. I was a bit more relaxed and I was going for my shots. At the end I think I played a really good tie-break. I'm really happy that I played my best tennis when it really matters.”
Soderling won his second ATP World Tour title of the season and the sixth of his career. Earlier this season, he had triumphed at the indoor event in Rotterdam and reached the Roland Garros final for the second year in a row, losing out to Rafael Nadal. He also finished runner-up on clay in Barcelona and Bastad and has compiled a 56-20 match record.
World No. 14 Monfils was through to the Paris-Bercy final for the second straight year after recording one of the best wins of his career in the semi-finals by saving five match points to defeat No. 2 Roger Federer. He lost out in a third-set tie-break to Novak Djokovic last year.
"I'm in a learning process. Every time I get to a final like this something goes wrong, and this time it was the preparation. I had to rush too much," lamented Monfils. "And also, at one stage in the match I tried to change my plan. I should maybe not have done that and keep with simple things. But I like all this, because it shows that when I will finally win my first [Masters 1000] final, it means I did everything right.
"Yesterday I used up a lot of energy, and today I wasn't able to find the extra stamina that I would have needed to be more competitive."
The 24 year old was bidding to become the fifth different Frenchman to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title (since 1990) and dropped to a 3-10 lifetime mark in ATP World Tour finals. Two weeks ago he won his third title indoors in Montpellier (d. Ljubicic). The Paris native will likely close his season in three weeks time if he is called upon to represent France in the Davis Cup final against Serbia in Belgrade.