Sat, Jan 02, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Soderling, Ferrer advance to semis in season-opening exhibition tournament

AP , ABU DHABI

Robin Soderling and David Ferrer advanced on Thursday to the semi-finals of the season-opening Capitala exhibition tournament.

Soderling outlasted Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) and Ferrer rallied to beat sixth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 at the Zayed Sports City.

Soderling was to take on top-ranked Roger Federer in the semi-finals yesterday, while Ferrer faces No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Federer and Nadal had first-round byes in the six-player invitational tournament, which is not part of the ATP tour.

Soderling, who is 0-12 against Federer in his career, took a 5-1 lead in the first set before Wawrinka started returning better, but the Swede’s booming serve proved decisive in both tiebreakers.

Davydenko, who won the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London last month, said he still felt the effects of a recent illness and struggled to maintain his concentration.

“I was suffering from bronchitis last week and even had to visit the hospital,” he said. “I thought I was OK but apparently it was not.”

Davydenko still dominated the first set before losing his serve in the fourth and eighth games of the second as the Spaniard leveled the match. Davydenko then broke Ferrer in the fifth game of the decider, but Ferrer tied it at 4-4 before breaking again to seal the match.

“We both were playing from the baseline well but I could not get my serves right,” Davydenko said. “I was playing well, volleying well, but I guess I lost concentration and then he was replying well to my second serves in that final game.”

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