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July 21, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Soderling triumphs at home

ROBIN Soderling beat Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-6 (4) to win the Swedish Open in Bastad on Sunday for his fourth ATP Tour title and first on clay.

The second-seeded Soderling became the first Swedish winner of the tournament since 2000 when his coach, Magnus Norman, won the title.

"I'm so happy, I wouldn't trade this victory for a grand slam," Soderling said.

This was his third ATP final on home soil. He lost both previous - on indoor hard court to Mardy Fish in the 2003 Stockholm Open and last year to David Nalbandian in the same tournament.

The 12th-ranked Soderling did not drop a set in his four matches at Bastad.

He broke for a 1-0 lead in the second set and had a break point for 4-1. But he let Monaco back in the match when his serve deserted him in the eighth game. Monaco broke back to 4-4 after Soderling hit a backhand wide.

"He started playing well in the second set," Soderling said. "I got nervous. I had a break point to 4-1, but the ball hit the top of the net. That was the match I thought. I got tense and he started playing better and better."

Leading 5-4, the unseeded Argentine reached set point when Soderling fell behind 30-40. But he managed to hold his serve after hitting a forehand winner in the corner.

Soderling took command early in the tiebreaker and never trailed. He moved to 6-2 and won it on his third match point when Monaco netted a return.

Soderling, this year's surprising French Open finalist, broke Monaco in the second game of the opening set when the Argentine netted a forehand. The Swede was never challenged when serving the rest of the way, closing out the set with a love game.

Monaco eliminated two seeded players - No. 1 Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Tommy Robredo in the semifinals - en route to the title match. Ranked 61st, Monaco was the first Argentine to reach the Swedish Open final since Mariano Zabaleta, who won back-to back titles in 2003-04.

In the Czech Republic, Sybille Bammer of Austria beat top-seeded Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (4), 6-2 on Sunday to win the Prague Open.

"It was very difficult and windy, she (Schiavone) has a very accurate topspin game and I am very happy I won," Bammer said.

In Stuttgart, Germany, Jeremy Chardy of France rallied to beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and win the Mercedes Cup for his first career title.

It was Chardy's second career final, after finishing as runner-up in Johannesburg in February.


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