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Page last updated at 23:19 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Soderling v Davydenko as it happened



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By Chris Bevan

2315: That's me just about done for the night - thanks for keeping me company. We've got a great weekend of tennis to look forward to from the O2 Arena and Mark Ashenden will be with you tomorrow afternoon to take you through those semi-finals. Enjoy.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Soderling was hitting them all over the shop by the end. The right two players through but looks like Federer-Delpo final to me."

Get involved on 606
Warwick360 on 606: "Goodbye Djoko... have a safe trip back to Serbia."

2308: As for the defending champion, Novak Djokovic? He's heading home or, just as likely, to a beach. The way he was hobbling around court earlier today, I'm not sure he will be that bothered about missing out on the chance to play Roger Federer - the Serb is not exactly at the top of his game right now.

2304: I hope you enjoyed that - the crowd at the O2 Arena certainly seemed to. We now know the semi-final line-up of the ATP World Tour Finals - Roger Federer will play Nikolay Davydenko at 1445 GMT on Saturday, before Robin Soderling takes on Juan Martin del Potro later that evening. Should be a couple of crackers.

Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 3-6 Davydenko
When it matters most, Davydenko produces three superb serves to get to 40-15 and set up two match points. Another mini fist pump shows what it means to him... But he follows that with a double fault - maybe that's why he doesn't really do emotion. Still, it matters not as Soderling makes a complete hash of an easy put-away on the next point and the Russian is into the last four. Everybody's happy... apart from Novak Djokovic, of course.


Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 3-5 *Davydenko
Davydenko will have to serve this one out though. At 30-all, the Russian scents another break but two aces by Soderling mean he still has a bit more work to do.
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*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 2-5 Davydenko
Not much of a response from Soderling - not that you'd really expect one, given he is already through. Davydenko holds to love, thanks to a couple of stunning winners, and is now one game away from a place in the semi-finals. He will play Roger Federer tomorrow afternoon if he goes on to win this match, Soderling will play Juan Martin del Potro tomorrow evening.
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Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 2-4 *Davydenko
Ah, the end could be near... Soderling's focus seems to drop again and a couple of wayward forehands leave him 0-40 down. Another forehand flies long and Davydenko has the break he craves. Bad news for Djokovic though...
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Get involved on 606
benny007 on 606: "Come on Soderling - unleash some of that Swedish sorcery!!"

*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 2-3 Davydenko
Again, Soderling seems a tad disinterested when it comes to the Davydenko serve. He holds and the pressure is back on the Swede.
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Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 2-2 *Davydenko
Let's not write Soderling off just yet - he holds here despite Davydenko going on the attack at every opportunity. The Russian puts away a superb backhand volley to win a thrilling rally but that Rob-Sod serve is still keeping him quiet, for now.
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*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 1-2 Davydenko
Hmmm. Having said that, Soderling doesn't seem too bothered about trying to break Davydenko here - he's usually a bit more calculating but this time he goes for a big shot every time he gets near the ball. These next couple of games could decide Djokovic's fate... if Rob-Sod is broken, I'm not sure he has the stomach for a fightback - he certainly doesn't need to.
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Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 1-1 *Davydenko
Soderling's got the job done - he's wrapped up the group win - but Novak Djokovic will be hoping he wants the win too... a Davydenko victory would knock the Serb out. Should Djoko be worried? Not on this evidence - Rob-Sod holds to love.
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*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 0-1 Davydenko
As Henry has just pointed out in a text to 81111, Soderling has hardly put a foot wrong since taking that tumble towards the end of the second set - maybe he should do that more often? Still, Davydenko starts the third set confidently enough - holding with an ace that a replay showed clipped the line, although Soderling disagrees. Game on.
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SECOND SETSoderling 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 0-0 *Davydenko
There was no way that Soderling was going to let this opportunity go begging... Davydenko fights hard but to no avail - the Russian gets no joy off the Swede's serve and we are into a deciding set. That means that Soderling has won Group B and will play Juan Martin del Potro tomorrow evening, even if Davydenko goes on to win this match.
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Text in your views on 81111
From Stuart, in the O2, via text on 81111: "Re anon. They may be playing technically better tennis than the Nadal match but unlike that one, the crowd has no underdog to root for here - this lacks atmosphere. Maybe Sod should milk that twisted ankle a bit?"

*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 5-4 Davydenko
Blimey, where did that come from? Davydenko cracks, completely, with three errors giving Soderling three break points at 0-40. He only needs one of them too, as the Russian hooks a forehand into the tramlines. That's our first break of the night and it means Soderling will serve for this second set next.
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Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 4-4 *Davydenko
Hmmm. Soderling is still not serving as smoothly as we know he can and, again, Davydenko gets to 30-all and within sight of that elusive first break of the match. The Swede seems to be back on track as he moves to 40-30 with a big serve down the middle but he takes a nasty tumble on the next point, slipping as he tried to change direction - he's a big guy too, so that will have hurt, and, to make matters worse, he also loses the point. Not to be outdone, Davydenko slips on the next point - a lot less dramatically, to be honest, and a perfectly placed backhand by Rob-Sod gives him the hold. Phew.
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*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 3-4 Davydenko
It's Davydenko's turn to have a wobble on serve and Soderling, without doing anything particularly special, finds himself at 30-all. The Russian recovers well, though, taking the next point with a serve that slides away from his opponent and taking the game by firing a forehand straight at the Swede, who had lumbered into the net.
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Text in your views on 81111
From anon, via text on 81111: "For players in the top 10, there has yet to be any truly fascinating rallies to really wow the crowd. Compared to Nadal game earlier, this is very dull to watch!"

Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 3-3 *Davydenko
A cracking two-handed cross-court backhand winner from Davydenko gives him a sniff at 30-all and he moves a step closer when Soderling flops a backhand into the net (the Swede's racquet hit the floor a good deal faster seconds later - temper, temper!). Davydenko is definitely looking dangerous but he will have to wait a bit longer for any breakthrough as a massive second serve from the Swede digs him out of a hole and he holds when Davydenko puts a backhand into the tramlines. That was a real chance for the Russian too.
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BBC Sport's 5livetennis Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Tournament Director is bored. He's just slipped in 'Kung Fu Fighting' over the sound system to win a bet against the ATP Marketing chief. I have requested a track by 90s euro-disco-diva Corona by way of challenge... listen out to see if it happens..."

*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 2-3 Davydenko
Bo and Britt-Inge Soderling - Robin's mum and dad - are at the O2 Arena tonight... hopefully they will be around for his semi-final tomorrow too (whoever that is against). By the way, Davydenko has an identical 0-12 record against Fed so they will both be keen to win this group and avoid the world number one. Davydenko is certainly looking stronger at the moment, holding here with ease.
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BBC Radio 5 Live
2156: David Felgate on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "Davydenko is making Soderling cover a lot of ground at the moment - he is bossing this one from the baseline and is in control of most of the longer rallies."

Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 2-2 *Davydenko
Oh dear... every time I talk about servers being on top, they do their best to prove me wrong. Soderling seems to lose concentration for a couple of minutes and two sloppy shots leave him 15-30 down. He recovers to 40-30 but a double fault brings us to deuce... tut tut - he is usually more ruthless than this. Still, a big serve is never far away and he follows that up with a cross-court passing shot that is too hot for Davydenko to handle to hold out... eventually.
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*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 1-2 Davydenko
We've now been playing for an hour, and it's been a pretty entertaining match so far - these two are not exactly box office but the 17,000 people in the crowd appear happy enough. On court? Apart from that blip in the tie-break, the serve has dominated and it is no different here - Davydenko holds to love.
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Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 1-1 *Davydenko
That Soderling serve is still rolling along nicely, however, and he holds without any problems despite Davydenko's best efforts to build on his advantage.
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Get involved on 606
From FedererSupremeOverlord on 606: "The Sod's going for it a bit too much on that inside-out forehand - but I guess he's in a position where he can afford to."

*Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 0-1 Davydenko
If Davydenko wins this set, he will finish top of Group B and play Juan Martin del Potro tomorrow evening, leaving Soderling to play Federer tomorrow afternoon. Novak Djokovic will be out. A bit early for all that, though, as I'm sure Rob-Sod will be keen to avoid Fed... who has won every one of their 12 encounters. Still, Davydenko holds easily enough in the opening game. By the way, I'm not sure what has happened to the Soderling backhand in the last few minutes but it seems to have fallen apart somewhat.
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Soderling 6-7 (4-7) 0-0 *Davydenko
Ha, as soon as I wrote that last paragraph, neither player could hold their serve for toffee - three successive mini-breaks giving Davydenko the advantage at 5-4 and two serves for the first set. It's a chance... and he takes it. A poor forehand by Rob-Sod gives the Russian a set-point at 6-4 and he puts away a smash to seal it. How will Soderling react now?

BBC Radio 5 Live
2143: David Felgate on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "Before this match I had no idea which way it would go and, having watched these two so far in this first set, I still have no idea."

Soderling 6-6 (3-3) Davydenko
As you might expect, given the way this match has gone so far, the tie-break goes with serve for the first six points - with Soderling showing a clever side by throwing in a short and wide one when he spots Davydenko standing way back at the back of the court. This one is very much up for grabs.

Soderling 6-6 Davydenko
So, can Davydenko hold? Of course he can. Soderling flops a backhand into the net and it's tie-break time.
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Soderling 6-5 *Davydenko
Another easy hold to love for Soderling and we have now had three straight games where the server hasn't dropped a point. Should make for a tasty tie-break, assuming Davydenko holds in the next game, of course...
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Text in your views on 81111
From Murray 4 majors up in level 4 at O2, via text on 81111: "Gutted not to see Murray in semis especially after dullsville Nadal v Djocko today. Go Davo! Think Soderling and Davo will make more interesting semis."

*Soderling 5-5 Davydenko
Whatever Rob-Sod can do, Davydenko can um, do too. A faultless service game sees the Russian hold to love too - and we're heading towards a tie-break at a rate of knots.
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BBC Radio 5 Live
2130: David Felgate on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "These guys are playing at a tremendous pace - quick between the points and getting on with it - and it is a pleasure to watch... this is great tennis."

Soderling 5-4 *Davydenko
Soderling wobbled on serve last time out but Davydenko doesn't get a sniff this time. The Swede is in at the net to despatch a backhand volley and he holds to love.
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*Soderling 4-4 Davydenko
Problems for Davydenko, who is suddenly the player being forced to scamper across his baseline as Rob-Sod attacks. A wild forehand flies a mile long and leaves him 15-40 down but he hits a clean winner into the corner with his next shot from that flank and, when a swinging serve takes him to deuce, he celebrates with a little fist pump that was practically invisible to the naked eye. It gets better for the Russian, though, who wins a ding-dong rally at the net with a smart volley and holds out when Soderling fires wide with a backhand. End result: We're still on serve.
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Soderling 4-3 *Davydenko
What's this? A first unforced error on serve by Rob-Sod - a forehand that flies out. Another follows on the next point to take Davydenko to 0-30 and a sniff of a first break. Soderling's forehand reminds me of King Kong trying to swat a bi-plane from the top of the Empire State building, but it isn't half effective when he connects - which he does twice to bring us back to 30-all. Chance gone? No. Soderling's next forehand only finds the net and we have our first break-point, which the Swede saves by following up a thumping serve by flashing a winner into the opposite corner. Two more huge deliveries see him hold out too.
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*Soderling 3-3 Davydenko
Davydenko is trying to keep Soderling on the move but the Swede seems able to reach balls by stretching alone sometimes - he's definitely not the fastest around the court. Still, Davydenko does enough to hold again and we're still with serve in the first set.
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BBC Radio 5 Live
2115: David Felgate on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra: "Some players have fast serves but the thing about Soderling is that he has a heavy serve - even if you get a racquet on it, it's difficult to get back."

Soderling 3-2 *Davydenko
More good news for Davydenko: he's won a point on the Soderling serve. That's one point in three games.
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*Soderling 2-2 Davydenko
Davydenko needs a decent service game here... and that's exactly what he gets. Another hold to love, sealed with an ace.
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Soderling 2-1 *Davydenko
Rob-Sod is completely dominant on serve at the moment - keeping Davydenko on the backfoot constantly. He holds to love again.
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*Soderling 1-1 Davydenko
Soderling has a big forehand too, but we haven't seen much of that yet. He still gets to 30-all here, mainly because Davydenko is still finding his feet or, more accurately, finding the tramlines. The Russian produces a flurry of stunning shots on the next point but Rob-Sod is equal to them all, before putting a backhand in the tramlines. He repeats the trick seconds later to level us up at one-game apiece.
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Soderling 1-0 *Davydenko
Soderling starts as he will hope to go on... with an ace. If you don't know much about the Swede, then we might as well begin with his serve - um, it's big. He holds to love.
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2055: Are you ready? Good. Robin Soderling will serve first and we are about to get under way.

From BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Had been a bit concerned about atmosphere at this one but crowd up for it, clapping along to London Calling. May have lost its punk edge."

Get involved on 606
From benny007 on 606: "If Soderling beats Davy then he by far surpasses my expectations of him, a truly fantastic player this year and deserves all the success he gets. Roger and Rafa take note - this is a man in the zone!"

2053: The players are on court knocking up now, and the crowd still seems very excited. Let's hope this match keeps them that way. Oh, and if you're confused about how the result will affect qualification from Group B please take a look at 2023 and 2026.

2050: By the way, I'd like it very much if you lot keep me company tonight... so please, get involved on Twitter, text me via 81111, or join the chat on 606. Only if you really want to, though.

2047: Quite a reception for Robin Soderling from the crowd at the O2 Arena... and Davydenko gets the same when he follows him on court. The Russian looks non-plussed.

2046: Nikolay Davydenko follows him for a brief pre-match interview and he definitely knows what he needs to do tonight: "If I win, I play semis. If I lose, it's my last match this year."

2044: Here comes Robin Soderling now - he's already through, remember, so should Djokovic be worried? No. "I always try to win every match I play," says Soderling. "I will fight to the end of course."

2042: Rafael Nadal vows to return stronger in 2010 after his defeat by Djokovic left him without a win, or set, from his three Group B round-robin games: "This tournament gave me the opportunity to see what I have to do to play better and to start the next year better. The goal is try to play hard and arrive generally in perfect condition."

2040: Novak Djokovic talks about his fitness following his 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over Rafael Nadal: "I'm not saying I'm dead tired, I'm saying I'm exhausted from the season. And I think you don't need confirmation from my face to see that. I think it's obvious on the court that I'm not moving and I'm not that energetic as I was maybe in Paris or Basel."

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "Rafa may have lost all three matches but still the press conference star. How are you feeling? (Smiling) "Finish battery. I need to make charge."

2032: You might have caught some of Djokovic's win over an out-of-sorts Nadal earlier today. Um, it wasn't a classic was it? I was still impressed by Nadal, however, despite his terrible form - the effort he put in despite having already been eliminated from the tournament bodes well for 2010.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery Tweeting from the O2 Arena: "It's fair to say the media centre isn't exactly crackling with excitement like last night but I'm backing Super Rob and Niko to star tonight."

2030: Phew. That's the maths over and done with (thankfully), so let's talk tennis. Rob-Sod v Nik-Dav will be difficult to call... assuming Soderling wants to win, of course. They've met nine times before in the past five years, with Soderling wining six of those encounters - including in Paris earlier this month. Most of the recent form belongs to him six matches with the Russian since 2006, he has only lost once.

2026: In terms of who could finish top of Group B, and play Juan Martin del Potro rather than Roger Federer tomorrow, then things are slightly more complicated but, luckily, not much:

Any Soderling win obviously means he finishes top. A two-set Davydenko win will be enough for him, but a three-set Davydenko win will still leave Soderling on top.

2023: Yep, the last match of what has been an intriguing (and, at times, brain-scrambling) round-robin stage will see Soderling play Davydenko. The shakedown is thus:

A Soderling win sees him go through, along with Djokovic. A Davydenko win will see him progress out of Group B, along with Soderling. Basically, if Davydenko wins, then sets won and lost by the top three players will decide who goes through. Soderling is untouchable with a W4 L0 (+4) record because the worst he can finish with is +2. Djokovic has finished his matches at W4 L3 (+1) so Davydenko, who is currently W3 L2 (+1) only needs a victory of any sort to better that.

2020 GMT: Evening folks. We already know three of the four semi-finalists of the ATP World Tour Finals... tonight we will find out whether Nikolay Davydenko or Novak Djokovic will join Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Robin Soderling in the last four. And the best thing? You won't need a calculator to work this one out...

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see also
Davydenko surges into semi-finals
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Djokovic reign ends despite win
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Murray suffers Tour Finals exit
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko wins to knock out Nadal
25 Nov 09 |  Tennis
In-form Soderling beats Djokovic
25 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Djokovic edges past Davydenko
23 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Soderling stuns Nadal in London
23 Nov 09 |  Tennis
ATP Finals photos
27 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

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