Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
by ATP Staff, 02.10.2009
Davydenko, Soderling To Clash In Semis
ATP World Tour No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 11 Robin Soderling will clash in the semi-finals of the inaugural Proton Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2009 after both recorded straight-sets wins over strong opposition Friday.
With success at the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament this week, Soderling and Davydenko are looking to strengthen their bids to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at the O2 Arena in London, 22-29 November.
“Every match is a new match,” commented Soderling, who has a 5-2 record against Davydenko. “I had tough matches with Nikolay. He is in good form. I will have to play as well as I played today.”
Soderling’s campaign to win his second ATP World Tour title of the year gathered pace as he crushed sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-2. The third seed saved the only break point he faced, while converting four of the six break point chances he created in the 64-minute match. It was Soderling’s third successive win over Berdych and improved his career lead over the Czech to 5-2.
“The score looks easier than what was the match. In the first set we had close games,” said Soderling. “I like to play indoors. I grew up in Sweden where most of the year we have to play on indoor courts. The court in Kuala Lumpur suits my game, so I hope I can keep playing this well.”
The 25-year-old Soderling has put himself in contention for qualifying for the season finale after compiling a 27-5 match record since the ARAG ATP World Team Championship, highlighted by knocking out Rafael Nadal en route to reaching his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros (l. to Federer). The Swede also won his fourth ATP World Tour title, on home soil, at the Catella Swedish Open (d. Monaco).
Top seed Davydenko withstood seven aces and rallied from a break down in the second set to knock out last week’s Open de Moselle champion Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-3 in 73 minutes.
After a shock loss to World No. 122 Thiemo De Bakker in France’s Davis Cup clash with the Netherlands, Monfils had won six straight matches to snap a four-year title drought in Metz (d. Kohlschreiber) and reach his sixth quarter-final of the season this week. The Frenchman dropped to a 30-14 match record.
The 28-year-old Davydenko recorded his 40th match win of the season after reaching his fifth semi-final. The Russian has added to this ATP World Tour title tally this season with victories at the International German Open (d. Mathieu) and the ATP Studena Croatia Open (d. Ferrero), putting himself in a position to qualify for the eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Last year, when the finale was staged in Shanghai, Davydenko finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic.