Söderling loses out to Nadal

Söderling loses out to Nadal
Photo: Mark Baker/AP/Scanpix (file)
Swedish tennis star Robin Söderling was unable to hold off the challenge of world number one Rafael Nadal in their Wimbledon quarter-final on Wednesday, losing 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.

Nadal came from behind Wednesday to win his grudge match with old foe Söderling and book a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals, using a dispute with the umpire over a line call to fire himself up and turn the match around.

“I started so slow but Robin was playing very long, very powerful shots so it was very difficult for me,” Nadal said.

“After that I have some problems in the first game of the second set, he had a break point; after that I think the match changed a lot.”

“I am feeling great. For me, another time in the semi-finals of this tournament is a dream.”

“I always try my best and I think I am playing better and better every day. In my opinion there is no one favourite right now in the tournament.”

Söderling had beaten Nadal twice in their six previous encounters, famously becoming the only player ever to beat him at the French Open when he knocked

him out in the round of 16 last year.

The pair have never got along well on court after Söderling mimicked Nadal’s on-court habits.

But the Mallorcan got his revenge by beating Söderling in this year’s French Open final earlier this month.

Söderling, playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, was the first Swedish player to reach the last eight since Jonas Bjorkman in 2006.

He is one of only two players, alongside Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten both Nadal and Roger Federer at Grand Slam events.

Söderling came charging out of the blocks, breaking Nadal in the second and fourth games and holding serve for a 5-0 lead.

Though Nadal broke to pull it back to 5-3, Soderling held his nerve to take the first set 6-3 within 33 minutes.

In the first game of the second set, Nadal was involved in a lengthy spat with the umpire after a Söderling shot was called long, but then ruled in after a Hawk-Eye challenge to give the Swede a break point.

The dispute fired up Nadal, who then broke to take a 3-1 lead.

The Spaniard went on to speed through the set and converted one of three set points with a forehand cross-court winner.

In the third set, Nadal broke early again as Söderling was making far more unforced errors than his opponent.

Nadal took a 5-3 lead to leave Söderling serving to stay in the set.

The Swede then took an injury time-out for treatment on his left foot but bounced back to force a tie-break that Nadal won when Soderling hit a return of serve into the net.

In the fourth set, Nadal broke early once again and did not look back from there, sealing the match with a forehand winner.

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