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TENNIS

Söderling sets sights on top 5 after Rotterdam win

Swedish tennis player Robin Söderling has set his sights on claiming a top five spot in the ATP world rankings after on Sunday becoming the first Swede in almost two decades to win the Rotterdam Open.

Söderling sets sights on top 5 after Rotterdam win

Söderling confirmed his return to form with a 6-4, 2-0 win over former champion Mikhail Youzhny on Sunday, after the Russian was forced to retire through injury.

Anders Järryd in 1993 was the nation’s last winner at the Ahoy arena. Söderling lost the 2008 final here to Frenchman Michael Llodra.

World no.8 Söderling broke a personal title dry spell dating back to last July in Båstad as he earned the victory in 54 minutes.

Youzhny was unable to carry on, ending his participation after losing serve in the second game of the second set after receiving treatment in the first set.

“It felt bad in the (Saturday) semi-finals, but today it was getting worse with each game,” said the Russian. “It feels a bit like a muscle problem but I’m not sure,” admitted the Russian.

“It was especially tough to start the running motion, taking the first few steps. There seem to be a lot of injuries already early in the season, it’s partly due to the tough calendar.”

Last year’s Roland Garros finalist Söderling hopes his Rotterdam win could be a springboard for his career, which made a breakthrough last spring when he faced Roger Federer for the French Open title.

“If I have a good year and stay healthy I could make it to the top five – if I don’t work hard I could be in the top 50.

“You have to work well and do everything right. The leading guys show that.”

“But I think there could be some new winners of the Grand Slams this season – and yes, I could be one of them.”

Söderling’s success this week capped his return to form after losing first-round matches in both of his previous 2010 events, Chennai and the Australian Open.

Söderling said that an enforced rest at home after going out in Melbourne finally put him right physically and mentally.

“I didn’t start so well in the first few matches, but along with my coach we worked and my game is back. I’m playing really well once more.

“But that’s all over – I feel perfect again.”

The 25-year-old improved to 5-2 on the season and moved his record against Youzhny to 3-1 with wins in their last three meetings.

Söderling and Youzhny had combined in the semi-finals to eliminate the tournament’s top two seeds, with the Swede eliminating number two Nikolay Davydenko and Youzhny claiming victory over world number two Novak

Djokovic.

Youzhny was playing his fifth final in his last eight events while Söderling found himself in a title match for the first time in 13 tournaments.

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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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