Soderling takes Rotterdam title again

Top-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to successfully defend his title at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament on Sunday.

Soderling broke Tsonga’s first service game to take an early 2-0 lead but the eighth-seeded Frenchman broke Soderling in the fifth game before firing three successive aces to level at 3-3.

Soderling broke again in the eighth to take a 5-3 lead and then served out the set.

Bidding to end a 15-month title drought, Tsonga recovered in the second and forced another break before four straight aces gave him a 5-2 lead. Aided by ferocious groundstrokes and a strong service game, Tsonga clinched the second set.

Soderling earned another break to take a 5-3 lead in the deciding set, serving an ace to wrap up the win.

"I don’t know how I managed to beat you," Soderling told Tsonga. "I think we both deserved to win this final."

Soderling became only the fourth player to successfully defend his title in Rotterdam, along with Arthur Ashe of the United States, Stefan Edberg of Sweden and Frenchman Nicolas Escude.

"I played good tennis but my opponent was just too good," said Tsonga, who last won a title at Tokyo in 2009.

Soderling was playing his third Rotterdam final. He lost in 2008 to Michael Llodra before beating Mikhail Youzhny last year.