Top seed Robin Soderling underlined his credentials as an Australian Open contender by overpowering defending champion Andy Roddick 6-3, 7-5 to win the Brisbane International yesterday.
Soderling, who had not dropped a set all week and only been broken once, matched Roddick’s fearsome service game and unleashed his deadly forehand to win his seventh professional title.
The Swede’s victory ensured he would move above Britain’s world No. 4, Andy Murray, in the rankings and take the fourth seeding for the Australian Open, which starts next Monday.
The 26-year-old stayed calm as Roddick raged through a delay while rainwater that came under the roof of the Pat Rafter arena was cleared from the court and sealed his triumph with a 16th ace after an hour and a half.
World No. 8 Roddick was always on the back foot in the contest and required a couple of aces just to win his first service game against the powerful Swede.
That only delayed the inevitable and Soderling, who was running the game from the back of the court, got the break at the next attempt, before racing to a 4-1 lead.
Soderling summoned up -another trio of aces to give himself set point four games later and went 1-0 up with a low cross-court backhand that kicked off the line.
The American continued to struggle to keep his serve at the start of the second set — it took him seven minutes to go 3-2 up — and the frustration boiled over when play had to be stopped.
Roddick was incensed at the way umpire Fergus Murphy had tested how slippery the court was and made it quite clear he was not prepared to take any risks before the year’s first Grand Slam.
“I’m not going to get hurt before Melbourne,” he said to Murphy.
Soderling had remained in his chair with a towel over his head throughout the delay and when play resumed was quickly on the Roddick serve again, racking up his seventh, eighth and ninth break points of the match against none for his opponent.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two