Tue, Nov 16, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Soderling gears up for London finale with Paris title win

REUTERS, PARIS

Robin Soderling signalled his intentions for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals when he claimed his maiden Masters title with a clinical 6-1, 7-6 defeat of local favorite Gael Monfils in Paris on Sunday.

Fourth seed Soderling was simply too good for Monfils and wrapped up a straightforward victory by taking the second-set tiebreak 7-1.

His blend of raw power and pace proved too much to handle for the Frenchman, who was condemned to his second successive final defeat in Bercy.

Backed by a 14,500 capacity crowd, Monfils never discovered the touch that helped him to knock out 16-times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer on Saturday.

Soderling showed no weaknesses throughout the 77-minute encounter on the fast indoor court as he picked up his sixth ATP title just before heading to London, where the ATP Finals will be played from Sunday at the O2 Arena.

“I think I played very good last week, and this week, too, on a surface that’s pretty similar to what it’s gonna be in London,” Soderling told reporters.

“Of course winning matches against a lot of good players this week gives me a lot of confidence,” added the 26-year-old, who rose to fourth in the ATP rankings yesterday.

Monfils handed Soderling a break in the fourth game when he fluffed a routine volley and the Swede followed up on serve to open a 4-1 lead.

He kept the pressure on Monfils and snatched the Frenchman’s serve again with a superb crosscourt passing shot before bagging the opening set with a forehand winner after 26 minutes.

Soderling did not face a single break point in the one-sided contest.

Monfils tried to keep pace in the second set as Soderling’s first serve percentage dropped but the Swede got his act together in the tiebreak and finished it off at the net, falling on his back in celebration.

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