SODERLING WINS SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Robin Soderling was on a mission this week and he accomplished what he came to do at the BMW Tennis Championship. He regained his confidence and claimed his first title in 2009 defeating top seed Tomas Berdych 6-1, 6-1.
As the No. 26 ranked player, Soderling expected to be playing this week deep into the late rounds of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells (CA) and then off to Key Biscayne for the Sony Ericsson. After earning a first round bye he lost his opening round match to Nicolas Lapenti and his plans took a major turn. Instead of third round match in California, he was off to the BMW Tennis Championship and needed to win three qualifying matches to earn a spot in the main draw.
The seven matches he played leading up to the finals must have been the prescription he needed to gain his confidence as he dominated Berdych needing less than an hour to claim the straight set win. Soderling didn't drop a service game and blasted seven aces. He also capitalized on capturing five of eight break point opportunities.
"Today I played almost a perfect match," said Soderling. "I wish I can play like this all the time."
Soderling led 5-0 in the first set before closing out the set 6-1. The only time Berdych challenged was the fourth game of the second set when he had the opportunity to tie the set at 2-2. Soderling saved two break point opportunities to go up 3-1 and knew he was on his way cruising the rest of the way winning the remaining games.
"When you play a good player there is always one point in a match when they can turn it around," added Soderling. "There was almost that moment and when he didn't take it I got up 3-1 and knew that was it."
Berdych was very upbeat after the loss knowing he faced a player at his best and that he also accomplished what he wanted to lead into the Sony Ericsson.
"He [Soderling] was playing so solid from the baseline," said Berdych. "He didn't make many mistakes. But I played five matches this week and it was good for my confidence."
Both players had to play two matches today due to the rainout of play on Saturday. Soderling defeated No. 3 seed Feliciano Lopez in his semifinal match 6-4, 6-4. Berdych cruised past Janko Tipsarevic 6-0, 6-4 in less than an hour.
The championship matchup included a number of firsts including the first time a number one seed and a qualifier advanced to the finals of the BMW Tennis Championship. Additionally, an ATP spokesman reported that no other finals in the challenger series has ever had two players ranked this high. Berdych entered the week ranked No. 22 and Soderling was No. 26.