The French Open runner-up to world number one Rafael Nadal will face Swiss second seed Roger Federer who beat the Austrian 13th seed Jürgen Melzer 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 for a berth in the semi-finals.
Söderling, ousted from his first US Open quarter-final last year by Federer, has lost 12 of 13 meetings with the 16-time Grand Slam champion.
But the Swede won their most recent meeting in a French Open quarter-final this year to snap Federer’s run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals.
Federer enjoyed some fortune in beating the Austrian ace when he won two points off forehands that hit the net cord and dropped over the net to win the pivotal second set tiebreaker.
Federer took leads and 2-1 and 5-4 with the net-cord winners, the latter setting up two points on his serve. He won the first when Melzer sent a lob long and the last with a forehand winner to claim the set.
“I know I got really lucky,” Federer said. “Maybe I would have won the tie-breaker anyhow. That’s the way it goes. I could see he had big frustration over the two net cords. It was a good 10 minutes for me.”
It wasn’t all luck for the Swiss star though. Federer fired 10 aces and 41 winners at Melzer, who missed on two break chances in the second game of the second set. Neither man managed another in the set, setting up Federer’s charmed tie-breaker.
“It’s a pity I didn’t win at least one set,” Melzer said. “I think I deserved the second set. I think I was the more dangerous player. I had break points. He didn’t have any.”
Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam champion seeking his sixth US Open title and
seventh final in a row, predicted a tough quarter-final match against Robin Söderling, who is looking for his first grand slam win.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Federer said. “He’s a great player. He’s having a great last couple of years. He has always been a dangerous player but now he has been able to do it consistently.”
Federer reached his 26th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, one shy of tying the all-time record streak belonging to Jimmy Connors. The last time Federer failed to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final was the 2004 French Open.
Federer’s five-year US Open reign and 40-match Flushing Meadows win streak was ended in last year’s final by Juan Martin Del Potro. If Federer does reach a seventh US Open final in a row, he will face his seventh different opponent.