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Wimbledon 2010: Rafael Nadal edges out Robin Soderling

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
Coverage:
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Rafael Nadal

Highlights - Nadal hits back to beat Soderling (UK only)

By Ian Westbrook
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal hit back from a disastrous first set to beat Robin Soderling 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 on Court One and set up a semi-final against Andy Murray.

Soderling raced 5-0 ahead in the opening set after just 18 minutes and took it despite a brief Nadal rally.

But Nadal went 3-0 up in the second and went on to close it out.

He took the third on a tie-break after Soderling called for the trainer when he was about to serve for the set and rattled through the fourth to seal it.

"I started so slow but Robin was playing very long, powerful shots so it was very difficult to have control of points," Nadal told BBC Sport afterwards.

I'm improving daily - Nadal

"After that, I have some problems in the first game of the second set, I saved a break point, and after that the match changed a lot.

"I'm feeling great. To be in the semis here another time is a dream for me. It's a very important moment of the season for me after the clay season. I think I'm playing better and better every day."

On the prospect of facing Murray, the second seed said: "I know I am going to have a difficult match against Andy in the semi-finals, but I am ready to try my best to be in this final. It is going be difficult, but I am playing well."

Soderling started off in amazing fashion by racing through the first five games.

He lost just one point in his opening service game and then trailed 40-15 on Nadal's serve in the next before the Spaniard whacked a shot into the net and was then beaten by a forehand by the sixth seed, who broke at his second opportunity when the world number one double-faulted.

A quick hold from Soderling was followed by another break as a sliced backhand from Nadal failed to clear the net - and when the Swede was untroubled in yet another service game he led 5-0.

606: DEBATE
Titiandtheo_05 do it for rambo

He had a set point in the next game but the world number one dug himself out of trouble to finally get off the mark.

Inspired, Nadal broke for the first time when Soderling double-faulted and he then held again to put his opponent under pressure but although the first point of the next game went to the Spaniard, the 12th seed regained the initiative to take the set on his second set point.

There was a stormy start to the second set as the umpire awarded a point to Soderling in the opening game as Nadal was still playing a shot. After a lengthy argument with the official the fired-up Spaniard resumed - saving a break point and going on to take the game.

Suddenly he is in the groove and he wins the second of three break points and holds his next serve before Soderling finally replied before the rest of the set went with serve as Nadal levelled the match.

The third set went with serve early on until the fifth game when Nadal broke after a wide forehand from Soderling, who lost his composure and smashed his racquet both on the ground and his chair.

The Swede failed to take two chances to break back in the next game before the next dramatic moment arrived after the ninth game.

Nadal was set to serve for the set at 5-4 when Soderling called for the trainer to deal with a problem with his left foot. The medical man did not arrive straight away and when the match resumed, it was after a gap of seven or eight minutes.

The second seed immediately double-faulted and ended up being broken in a topsy-turvy game much to the second seed's fury and the set eventually went to a tie-break which Nadal won to move ahead in the match for the first time.

Robin Soderling during his defeat by Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon
Soderling was playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final

The Spaniard was not going to surrender the initiative now and he broke in the fourth and sixth games to secure victory and reach his fourth Wimbledon semi-final.

Soderling said he felt he was entitled to take his medical time-out when he did.

He revealed that the problem was a blister on his toe and said: "It was hurting me quite a lot. I think it's better to have it fixed than play with it."

He added: "I think the difference was that he returned a little bit better than me and I was a little bit frustrated because I didn't put many returns in.

"Of course, he served pretty wel but it's not like I'm playing one of the best servers on tour. I have to at least put some more returns back in play.

"I think I started well and in the first set I was a bit lucky to win the break points. During the second and third sets, I had my chances but didn't really take them."



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see also
Murray wins to set up Nadal semi
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Henman on men's quarter-finals
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day nine as it happened
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Federer stunned by super Berdych
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Djokovic beats Lu to reach semis
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Federer and Nadal into last eight
28 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Nadal defies injury to progress
26 Jun 10 |  Tennis
In-form Soderling reaches last 16
26 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Nadal pushed all the way by Haase
24 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Solid Nadal races past Nishikori
22 Jun 10 |  Tennis


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