Mon, Jul 20, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Robin Soderling keeps his Swedish Open hopes alive

AP , BASTAD, SWEDEN

Italy’s Fabio Fognini kicks his racket during his Mercedes Cup semi-final against Romania’s Victor Hanescu in Stuttgart, Germany, on Saturday.

PHOTO: EPA

Second seed Robin Soderling beat fellow Swede Andreas Vinciguerra 6-1, 7-6 (8/6) on Saturday to set up a meeting with Juan Monaco in the Swedish Open final.

Monaco, an unseeded Argentine, routed two-time defending champion Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-2 in the other semi-final on the slow clay.

Soderling, this year’s surprise French Open finalist, saved a set point in the second-set tiebreaker when trailing 6-5. He won it 8-6 when Vinciguerra netted a forehand return.

Vinciguerra, a wild card entry ranked No. 460, broke Soderling’s serve only once to level at 3-3 in the second set.

Soderling is trying to become the first Swedish winner of the tournament since 2000, when his coach Magnus Norman won the title.

Monaco broke the third-seeded Robredo three times in the opening set and raced to a quick 5-1 lead in the second after securing two more breaks of the Spaniard’s serve.

With the win, the 61st-ranked Monaco avenged his final loss to Robredo at the Copa Telmex, an ATP tournament in Buenos Aires last February.

Monaco is the first Argentine to reach the Swedish Open final since Mariano Zabaleta, who won back-to back titles in 2003 and 2004.

Robredo, playing in Bastad for the ninth straight year, has a 23-7 record in the tournament.

■PALERMO OPEN

AP, PALERMO, ITALY

Defending champion Sara Errani will meet top-seeded Flavia Pennetta in an all-Italian final of the Palermo Open.

Fifth-seeded Errani beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the semi-finals on Saturday and Pennetta defeated another Italian, Tathiana Garbin, 6-1, 6-1 on the red clay courts.

■MERCEDES CUP

REUTERS, STUTTGART, GERMANY

Frenchman Jeremy Chardy beat Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday to reach the Mercedes Cup final, where he will face fourth seed Victor Hanescu.

World No. 43 Chardy reached his second tournament final of the year with a convincing performance on a windy and drizzly day.

“It was a great week for me and I played well, despite playing two matches today,” Chardy said, having also played his quarter-final against German Mischa Zverev earlier on Saturday after rain washed out play on Friday.

The 22-year-old, whose top-spin forehand was his biggest weapon, grabbed two breaks either side of a Kiefer break to take the first set.

Kiefer, who also won his quarter-final against Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot earlier on Saturday, played more aggressively in the second set, rushing to the net and holding serve until 6-5. The Frenchman, runner-up in Johannesburg in February, then turned up the heat and wrapped up the match with two fierce forehand winners.

Earlier, Hanescu had ended Fabio Fognini’s dream run, beating the Italian 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 to reach his first final in a year.

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