Soderling, Ferrer advance in Abu Dhabi

Robin Soderling and David Ferrer advanced to the semifinals of

the season-opening Capitala exhibition tournament on Thursday.

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 will take on top-ranked Roger Federer in the

semifinals Friday, while Ferrer faces No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Federer

and Nadal both had first-round byes in the six-player invitational

tournament, which is not part of the ATP Tour calendar.

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,”  the Russian 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 evened

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 (Ferrer) was

replying well to my second serves in that final game.”