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Federer v Soderling as it happened

Men's singles second round result:

R FEDERER (Swi) 1 bt R Soderling (Swe)

6-3 6-4 7-6

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon

Federer 7-6 Soderling
Mini-break for Roger straight away as Soders just misses with a zipper to the far left corner. Fed holds easily but then Soders cracks, attempting an insane boomer of a second serve and missing with a 125mph thrasher to leave Fed 5-1 up. Soders steals one point back with a good deep forehand that Fed pops long but then nets a sleepy slicer to teeter at 6-2. Fed misses beyond the corner as the pair trade slaps but it's his serve up next, and with shadows stretching across the court he batters down a stinger that Soders can only flail into the net.

Job done, and the charmed crowd stand to applaud the great champ. He's through, and with Djokovic crashing out to Safin on the same court earlier this afternoon, it's been a rather good day for Team Fed.

Federer 6-6 Soderling
There we go. Respective tie-break records this season: Fed's won nine and lost six, while Soders has won four and lost six.

Federer 5-6 Soderling
Another wobble for Soders at 15-15, but Roger clouts an ugly mis-hit long and he wriggles free. Anyone for a tie-break?

Federer 5-5 Soderling
Crash bang wallop - Fed breezes through his own service game to draw level. Long-time ladyfriend Mirka beams next to her pal Stefani.

Federer 4-5 Soderling
After an error to wobble at 30-30, Soders comes up with ace no.6 to move to set point. Shoulders then stiffen up as he realises where he is, and he thumps a backhand miles long and another into the railway tracks. Break point Fed - and Soders slaps a forehand wide to toss his big chance away. Heartbreak Hotel. I think that woman in the crowd still has her illicit ball, but I can't be sure - had my eyes on court for obvious reasons.

Federer 3-5 Soderling
Federer, clearly piqued, holds to love with moody menace. A woman in the crowd catches a stray ball and slips it into her lap, hoping no-one will notice. As the man two seats along frowns disappovingly, she goes slightly pink.

Federer 2-5 Soderling
He's held onto it too - taking advantage of the new balls to rattle through his alloted set. Roger goes back to his seat and pulls some mineral water from his enormous white bag. The bag is like a souped-up version of the type you might pick up in your local, slightly-chavvy sportswear emporium - that shiny fake leather, embossed with gold crests.

Federer 2-4 Soderling
Soders takes advantage of a Fed mental pause to work his first break points of the match. Roger saves one with a big serve but looks to be in deep trouble on the next when Soders lobs him - only for the champ to sprint backwards and conjure up an impossible dipping passing shot facing the wrong way. Soders screams and slams the loose ball at an invisible demon, but the anger pushes him on, and when Rog mis-judges a slicey backhand he's stolen a break. The crowd go small bananas.

Federer 2-3 Soderling
Soder takes the parental applause on board to edge in front on serve again. In the crowd, a man in a cowboy hat appears to be smelling his girlfriend's fingertip. No - hold on - she's plucking a stray hair from his wispy goatee. Unpleasant.

Federer 2-2 Soderling
Mr Soderling Snr - Bo, to his friends - and Mrs Soderling (Britt-Inge) show no signs of being intimidated by the illustrious guests in front of them in the VIP slots. Mama stands up to applaud a forehand ripper but Roger's cru have the last laugh as he serves up three crisp bowls of fetch-that.

Federer 1-2 Soderling
The crowd are giving Soderling some decent backing here - they had their break durirg the Kuznetsova match, and they're now bang into it. Soders finally finds his touch with a backhand volley to keep his dreams alive.

Federer 1-1 Soderling
Anything you can do, says Federer, I can do eight times better. He holds with his finger on fast-forward. If it is Posh Spice, she's in the cheap seats for a change. And she's put on a small amount of weight around the chin.

Federer 0-1 Soderling
There's a girl in the crowd who appears to have come as Posh Spice. Good Lord - you don't think it is Posh Spice, do you? Soders serves solidly to start the set.

SECOND SET

Federer 6-4 Soderling
The shadow from the roof has now crept as far as the Fed baseline as he serves for a two-set lead. Two aces take him close and a Soder backhand trips and dies on the net before Soder drives mightily into the corner to delay the inevitable. By about 20 seconds, as it turns out - boom-boom goes the skiddy serve, and Soders is as powerless as a Russian peasant.

Federer 5-4 Soderling
Two of the best shots of the match from Fed - a curving pass off the forehand which heads wide before dipping in like a Roberto Carlos free-kick, and a bulleted return off the backhand which is past Soderling before he's completed his follow-through. Soders stays afloat by firing down two life-saving boomers and getting lucky when Fed completely misses with a wafty forehand. Gaps of disbelief, not least from Roger himself.

Federer 5-3 Soderling
40-0 in the time it takes me to type the words. Rog duffs a volley at the net and looks briefly sick before crashing a big serve out wide to move to within four points of a two-set lead.

Federer 4-3 Soderling
Sweet backhand pass from Soders as Roger purrs to the net. Fed then nets with an ambitious backhand and Soders goes to within a game. The Swede then calls for the trainer - looks like he's got a blister on his left foot. On comes the man with the Elastoplast, and as Soders places his foot gingerly on a chair the trainer mummifies the ball of his foot.

Federer 4-2 Soderling
Lordy - Soders runs onto a short one and drills a forehand straight at Federer's nose. Fed rears away like KP dealing with a bouncer and punishes the cheek of his opponent with ace no.6.

Federer 3-2 Soderling
Troubled at 30-30 and with his first serve gone, Soders gambles on a second boomer and pulls off a 120mph acer. Fed's backhand is flowing regally and he drives Soders back to go to deuce. Soder drills a big serve down the middle and clatters a line-judge on the lower cheeks, but that patsy backhand volley lets him down again. Fed lets him off the hook with a netted backhand driller of his own and he stays in touch.

To be fair, if Wintour does dislike the cardigan, I can hardly see her giving Roger both barrels when he's got her in on one of his Centre Court tickets. Expect a toadying editorial in the autumn trends edition.

Federer 3-1 Soderling
Two brutal forehands from Soders, the ball hit so hard that it's a surprise to see it still round as it comes to rest against the backboards. Fed doesn't care - he pulverises two of his own to maintain the gap. Vogue editor Anna Wintour next to Rossdale in the VIP slots, looking extremely Edna Mole. Wonder what her thoughts are on the cardie.

Federer 2-1 Soderling
Grass-scorching serving from Soders, an ace thudding into the dark-green screens behind Federer and two others clanking off the frame. Roger goes to his seat and looks a fraction sulky.

Federer 2-0 Soderling
That's how you volley, says Roger, pinging away a full-stretcher with effortless ease. Two slammers later he's tossing the spare ball away and wiping a brown brow on the fluffiest of towels.

Federer 1-0 Soderling
Sloppy from Soders, boffing a backhand long to set up an early break nibble. Fed tries to glide a backhand slice cross-court but meets tape, only for Soders to slap a simple volley into the divider with the open court winking suggestively. A Fed forehand flies wide with a big gap gaping before a dipping pass off the backhand leaves Soders flummoxed. When the Swede clatters another makeable volley way out, he's broken again. Uh-oh.

FIRST SET

Federer 6-3 Soderling
Whispers of consternation around Centre as Fed is fooled by the gusty wind and goes long to ship his first break point. Barely has Soders realised than the tiny glimmer is gone, a sliced backhand drifted into the corner to seal the set.

Federer 5-3 Soderling
Super hold from the lanky Swede, pinging Fed back to love with the fuzz-free new balls. Bright sunshine again overhead, and Pimms is being gargled in all corners.

Federer 5-2 Soderling
Hello - the first errors from Fed as he falls backwards to a Soder backhand drive and drifts to deuce as the ball goes wide. Wallop - down comes his third ace, and after a mere 23 minutes, Soder is serving to stay in the set.

"I thought Gwen said she ain't no hollaback girl?"
JW via text on 81111

Good point, JW. I'll send a lackey out to confirm with her.

Federer 4-2 Soderling
Decent rhythm on the big Soder-serve, as we'd expected, but unless he can dent the Fed fender against serve he's going to be a set down.

Federer 4-1 Soderling
Efficient destruction from Fed on his serve, and Soders has as much chance of getting involved as a vegetarian at a hog-roast. I heard a rumour a few months back that Stefani was going bald - clearly a defamatory nonsense, unless she's perched under a wig so good that Paul Daniels could cry.

Federer 3-1 Soderling
Stefani looks like she's brought husband Rossdale with her, who I believe spent his early years a few miles north-west in Shepherd's Bush. Better from Soders, coming to the net behind a deep slicer to pop away a drop-volley and then doing the same behind a big serve to get himself on the board.

Federer 3-0 Soderling
Fed has set off like a man who wants to be home and hosed in time for dinner and the Germany v Turkey semi - a wondrous forehand sizzles off his wand and down the line for a Soderbashing winner. Hold up - there's Stefani, parked behind a pair of sunglasses so big they almost need scaffolding to hold them up.

Federer 2-0 Soderling
A rumour sweeps Centre Court that Gwen Stefani is in the VIP seats. I'm craning my neck but I can't see the blinding blonde barnet of the Hollaback Girl anywhere. I'll keep you posted. Fed sets up a deuce with a backhand that's so sliced you expect the ball to fall to ground like a broken Terry's Chocolate Orange, goes to advantage with a crowd-pleasing lob and takes the break when Soders double-faults lamely.

Federer 1-0 Soderling
Encouragment for both players out there. Fed rakes a top-spin forehand down the line for a creamy winner before Sod - I can't call him that - hits back with his beefy forehand. Roger holds with a whipcrack serve.

1640: Bit of banter there from umpire Steve Ullrich to Roger as he meets him at the net. "I don't feel like the best-dressed guy here!" he says, cracking up at his cardigan-based joke. Roger gives him a token smile that's all mouth and no eyes. "You're not too bad," he says, before peeling off his woolly controversy.

1635: Let's leave the cardigan to one side for a while - I wish Roger would too, to be fair, but anyway. Could be a touch tricky out there this afternoon against Soderling, who last year took Nadal to five dicey sets in the third round. Big serve on the Swede too...


see also
Safin stuns lacklustre Djokovic
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Live - Wimbledon day three
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis


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