Söderling aces his way to Stockholm Open final

AFP/The Local
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Söderling aces his way to Stockholm Open final

Swedish fourth seed Robin Söderling use home advantage and a total of 13 aces to force his way into the final of the Stockholm Open on Sunday. He faces Argentina's David Nalbandian.


In their respective semi-finals Saturday the pair scored crushing victories, however Söderling goes into the final knowing that he has lost to Nalbandian in four of their five encounters.

The Argentine top seed hammered two-time finalist Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-2, 6-1 while fourth seed Soderling needed just 44 minutes to dispatch talented Japanese teenager Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-0.

Söderling barely broke sweat against Japanese teenager Kei Nishikori, with the Swede now looking to improve against Nalbandian after earning his only win in their series three years ago on clay in Hamburg.

The Swede fired 13 aces in his way through the semi-final.

Nishikori, who has risen well over 200 ranking places this breakthrough season, will take next week off but hopes to compete in Basel and Paris Bercy if a minor knee problem clears up as expected.

The youngster who will rise into the 60s from Monday on the ATP said he is feeling tired from action last week at home in Tokyo.

"I've had knee pain all week, but it's nothing serious," said Nishikori, the winner of a first title last February in Delray Beach. "I will just rest it."

"I felt the knee on long points and sometimes when I hit, but that's not why I lost. He played too well - I couldn't do anything."

Nalbandian - gearing up for next month's Davis Cup final in Mar del Plate against Spain - was playing as the first Argentine in the semi-finals at Stockholm's Royal Tennis Hall since Guillermo Canas in 2001.

The world number 7 showed no mercy against Nieminen, the third seed who lost title matches in 2001 and 2006 here.

"I really played good today, like I've done all week," said Nalbandian. "I hope to keep going like this tomorrow as well.

"It was not easy for Jarkko when I'm playing like this, I was hitting winners everywhere. I like indoors, the conditions are perfect."

Nalbandian broke three times in the opening set while dropping his own serve once but took charge in the second to deny number 33 Nieminen a return to a Top 30 rankings.

The Argentine won his only other trophy of 2008 eight months ago on clay in Buenos Aires and finished runner-up a week later in Acapulco against Nicolas Almagro.

Nalbandian improved to 33-13 this season as he earned his 13th victory on hardcourts.


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