BBC Sport tennis

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 15:48 UK

Robin Soderling beats Tomas Berdych to make Paris final

French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Date: 23 May-6 June
Coverage:
Live video streamed from 1000 BST on BBC Sport website (UK only) and BBC red button; commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra; also live on Eurosport; text commentary on BBC Sport website Details of BBC coverage

Sweden's Robin Soderling

Highlights - Soderling fights back to beat Berydch

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Roland Garros

Sweden's Robin Soderling returned to the French Open final for the second year in a row with a tense five-set win over Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals.

Soderling followed up his victory over defending champion and world number one Roger Federer on Tuesday by beating the Czech 15th seed 6-3 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-3 in three hours 27 minutes.

And the fifth seed will have to repeat last year's stunning fourth-round win over Rafael Nadal if he is to land a first Grand Slam title, after the Spaniard beat Jurgen Melzer in the second semi-final.

"When I came here I was only thinking about the first round," said Soderling. "Now I'm in the final again. It's better than the best dream ever."

Berdych had made it to the last four without dropping a set, the Czech beating fourth seed Andy Murray along the way, and in 10 previous meetings Soderling only edged their personal rivalry with six wins.

Today was really tough to really play my own game because he didn't give me any time at all - the conditions were much quicker and he was hitting the ball really hard and really flat

Robin Soderling

Once play got under way on a half-full Chatrier it was soon apparent that these were two very similar players, with both men relying on heavy serves to set up short balls they could attack with huge groundstrokes.

It was Berdych who made the more confident start but a couple of errors in game six had him under pressure and a double-fault handed Soderling the break for 4-2.

The Swede, 25, wrapped up the set minutes later with a fine wrong-footing forehand, before a complete reversal of roles in the second set.

Now it was Soderling whose nerve failed him when serving at 2-1 down as a double-fault and a wayward backhand gave Berdych the chance to level matters, which he did despite seeing a couple more break points slip by in game six.

With the ball flying in the hot, dry conditions, the mistakes began to flow in a scrappy third set of double-faults at key moments, numerous errors but, crucially, an impressive 27 winners off the Berdych racquet.

Of course you are disappointed when you are off the court and you are not the winner. I think actually the very important moment was in the first set when I lost my serve

Tomas Berdych

After moving ahead when Soderling double-faulted on his fifth break point in a lengthy game three, Berdych missed the chance at the double-break two games later and then thumped a backhand long to bring the Swede level at 3-3.

We were in the heart of the match now and it was Soderling who snapped under the pressure.

A beautiful backhand return gave Berdych his sixth break point of the set and Soderling sent a backhand long before smashing his racquet into the dirt in absolute fury, bringing a code violation from the umpire.

That was the least of his worries as the fourth set began, but he saw off a potentially decisive break point for Berdych with a big serve and began to work his way back into the match before two backhand errors from the Czech gave Soderling a lifeline at 4-2.

Nothing would come easy for either player and Soderling had to fend off a break point before clinching the set with a dipping forehand onto the line, clenching his fist as he looked to coach Magnus Norman at the changeover.

606: DEBATE
quincymagoo

The tennis might not have been of the highest quality but the now full Chatrier stadium certainly had a real battle unfolding before them, and it was the rejuvenated Soderling who landed the first blow of the final set as an angled backhand return gave him an immediate break.

That counted for little moments later when he pushed an awkward backhand well long to bring Berdych back to 1-1 but the Swede did not suffer a repeat of his third-set meltdown.

Soderling saw his chance at 3-3, 0-30 and stepped in to hit a forehand winner before chasing down a drop shot for 0-40, Berdych netting a backhand on the second break point.

A spectacular running forehand pass showed that Soderling was now back to something like his best form as he attacked the Berdych serve again to seal victory with a second break before looking to the sky in relief.

"Today was tough to play my own game because he didn't give me any time at all," said Soderling. "The conditions were much quicker and he was hitting the ball hard and flat.

"He was playing well and I felt that I had some chances in the third set. I had a few break points but he came up with some really good serves on the important moments. I had a tough time trying to handle his serve."

Berdych said: "Of course you are disappointed when you are off the court and you are not the winner. I think actually the very important moment was in the first set when I lost my serve.

"I think that game was not good from my side. I made really two easy mistakes, lost my serve easily, and I think that that was very important."



Print Sponsor


see also
French Open day 13 as it happened
04 Jun 10 |  Tennis
French Open day 13 photos
04 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Venus & Serena win doubles title
04 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Federer crashes out to Soderling
01 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Murray makes limp exit in Paris
30 May 10 |  Tennis
Federer claims historic Paris win
07 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal falls to Soderling
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Grand Slam men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Grand Slam women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis


related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.