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TENNIS

Sub par Söderling in shock first round Indian exit

Tournament top seed Robin Söderling was dumped out of the Chennai Open in the first round on Tuesday at the hands of 100th-ranked American Robby Ginepri.

The Swedish number one crashed out of the $400,000-dollar ATP tournament with an embarrassing two-set loss.

The world number eight failed to raise his game in his first appearance on Indian soil and lost 6-4, 7-5 to the 100th-ranked Ginepri in an hour and 31 minutes.

Söderling, who ended Rafael Nadal’s reign at the French Open last year on way to his maiden Grand Slam final, came to India after beating world number one Roger Federer in Abu Dhabi last week.

But Ginepri attacked Söderling consistently from the baseline, before clinching victory on his second match point as the Swede netted a deep return of serve.

“It’s great to start the year with an important win,” said Ginepri, who has struggled to match his career-best rank of 15 in 2005 when he reached the semi-finals of the US Open.

“Robin has had a fantastic run in the past year, and one is never sure what to expect in the first round against a player of his calibre.

“But I just wanted to serve and return well and it all came together in the end. I am quite excited about this win.”

Söderling conceded his game fell apart, but brushed aside suggestions the heat of Chennai had sapped his energy.

“Everything went wrong, but the heat was not a factor,” the Swede said. “I tried my best, but it was an off-day. I was just not hitting the ball well.

“It is hopefully just a one-off thing.”

Söderling said he was looking to play in another tournament before the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne on January 18th.

“I need to play a few matches before the Open. Maybe I will play at Kooyong (an exhibition event in Australia).”

Eighth seed Rajeev Ram of the United States also made an early exit after a 6-1, 6-1 defeat against Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker.

Indian qualifier Prakash Amritraj fell in straight sets to American Michael Russell, while Marcel Granollers of Spain came from behind to defeat James Ward of Britain 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

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SPORT

Björn Borg’s son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut

Four decades after Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg won a fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, his 16-year-old son Leo Borg is reportedly set to make his debut at the tournament.

Björn Borg's son Leo set to make his Wimbledon debut
Leo Borg's Wimbledon debut is yet to be officially confirmed. Photo: Hanna Franzén/TT

According to reports in British tabloid The Sun and Swedish tabloid Expressen, Borg will be awarded a wildcard to play in the Wimbledon junior event.

“Leo is very grateful about getting a wildcard for the qualifiers to junior Wimbledon,” Björn Borg told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

“It will be an incredible experience and useful practice for the future,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Wimbledon tournament did not want to confirm the decision, only saying that wildcard announcements and the main draw for the Juniors tournament would be made next week.

If confirmed, Leo Borg’s Wimbledon debut comes 39 years after Björn Borg defeated American rival John McEnroe, winning him his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title.

The iconic match has been called one of the greatest matches of all time and the story was adapted for the screen in the 2017 feature film Borg vs McEnroe, where Leo, bearing a striking resemblance to his fatther, played a younger version of Björn Borg.

During the 1970s and early 1980s Björn Borg won a total of 11 Grand Slam titles, five Wimbledons and six French Opens.


Björn Borg after winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in 1980. Photo: Scanpix/TT

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