Soderling back into quarterfinals at French Open

Soderling back into quarterfinals at French Open

Published May. 30, 2011 6:54 p.m. ET

Robin Soderling will have to defeat the defending champion for the third straight year to have any chance of reaching the French Open final yet again.

The fifth-seeded Swede, who reached the quarterfinals Monday by beating Gilles Simon of France 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (5), will next face five-time champion Rafael Nadal.

''I think everybody knows what he can do,'' Soderling said of Nadal. ''He won here so many times.''

If anyone has a chance of being confident against the top-ranked Spaniard, it's Soderling.


The big-serving Soderling is the man responsible for Nadal's sole loss at Roland Garros, beating him in the fourth round in 2009. Nadal had won the four previous French Open titles. In his first Grand Slam final, Soderling lost to Roger Federer in straight sets.

A year later, almost the exact opposite happened. Soderling beat defending champion Federer in the quarterfinals - ending Federer's streak of reaching the semifinals at 23 straight Grand Slam tournaments - but then lost to Nadal in the final.

''Every match is different,'' Soderling said. ''It doesn't matter how you got to the quarters, as long as you're there.''

Soderling had little trouble against Simon, a Frenchman seeded 18th. Despite committing 42 unforced errors on Court Philippe Chatrier, 18 more than Simon, Soderling led his opponent in winners, 35-18.

He also managed to break Simon five times while losing his serve only once.

''When you're faced with a tall guy who plays very hard, he is full of energy, if everything gets in the court, I mean, there is nothing I can do,'' Simon said.

Against Nadal, Soderling will need more of the same.

''You have to try to play smart against him,'' Soderling said. ''You have to really select your shots and really go for winners when you have the chance. Otherwise, he puts everything back.''


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