Straight-sets win powers Söderling into Indian Wells semis

Swedish tennis ace Robin Söderling defeated Britain's Andy Murray on Friday to claim a semi-final place against Andy Roddick in the Indian Wells Masters 1000.

Sixth-seeded Söderling denied Murray a return trip to the Indian Wells finals Friday, ousting the Briton in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).

The Swedes’ booming serves and powerful groundstrokes gave the Briton no chance to work his way into the match.

Soderling steamed through the first set against Australian Open runner-up Murray in 36 minutes, taking a 5-0 lead before an out-of-sorts Murray managed to hold serve.

“He played very well to start, and I didn’t,” said Murray, who fell in the final here last year to Rafael Nadal. “I didn’t move particularly well. I was hitting the ball really short, and he’s obviously got a big game and he was able to dictate all of the points.

“So from my side it was poor, but he hit the ball really big from the back of the court and served well when he needed to.”

Söderling said his level in the opening set was “really good.”

“I didn’t make any mistakes at all, I think. I was moving pretty well, serving well, and I went for my shots and in the right moments.”

Söderling was on his way with a break for a 2-1 lead in the second set. But Murray fought off three match points against his own serve in the ninth game – two of them with service winners and one with a backhand drop shot that the Swede couldn’t handle.

Serving for the match in the next game, Söderling instead surrendered the break as Murray belted a backhand winner down the line.

That seemed to give Murray new life and he fired three of his 10 aces in the next game to hold serve.

“I was a little bit nervous going out serving for the match at 5-4,” Söderling said. “I got up to 30-love, and then I don’t think I really did anything wrong. So all credit to him, because he played well where he needed it the most.”

In the tiebreaker, however, Söderling took control quickly, taking a 3-1 lead. He gave himself a fourth match point with a backhand down the line for 6-4 and Murray netted a service return to end it.

Söderling, who stunned four-time defending champion Nadal to reach the final of the French Open last year, has reached the semi-finals of a prestigious Masters 1000 event for the first time.

Roddick, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells for the fourth time continuing his dominance of Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 7-5, as he notched his 11th victory over the Spaniard in as many meetings.

The American has made it to the quarter-finals or better in five events this season, opening the year by winning the title in Brisbane, making the quarters at the Australian Open and reaching the final of the ATP event in San Jose, California, last month.

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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