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Söderling win keeps Sweden in Davis Cup

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Söderling win keeps Sweden in Davis Cup
10:37 CEST+02:00
Sweden has retained its place in the Davis Cup after Robin Söderling defeated Italy's Simone Bolelli in straight sets in Lidköping on Sunday.

Sweden secured World Group status by beating Italy 3-2. After the outcome was decided, teammate Andreas Vinciguerra lost to Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-3 in a dead rubber match in what is likely to have been his final Davis Cup outing for Sweden.

As the two teams entered the last day of play tied at one apiece, Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti chose Bolelli, Italy's third-ranked men's singles player, instead of Potito Starace, the top Italian man, to face the powerful Swede, but it made no difference to the outcome, with Söderling winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Bolelli beat Söderling in their last meeting in 2009, just as Starace had done, but the fast Plexipave surface of the Sparbanken Lidköping Arena overpowered the Italian as the world's fifth-ranked player ripped home service winners at an even faster pace than against Fognini on Friday.

Bolelli may have lasted 25 minutes longer than his teammate, but Söderling pounded five more aces past him, 23 in all.

"A different surface and, I think, a different player now," Bolelli said in reference to his competitor. "He was strong also when I played him, but now he's five in the world, he's won many important matches, he's improved a lot. His serve was almost impossible to play today."

The disappointment of losing the doubles match the previous day after winning the first two sets left the Italian team somewhat deflated. It was one of the reasons that Starace was replaced, as well as fatigue from playing twice in two days and that Bolelli enjoys playing indoors.

As a result, the pressure was on for Söderling.

In the fifth game of the opening set, he served a full house of aces to take a 4-1 lead, having broken Bolelli in the previous game. In the fourth game of the second set, Bolelli was ahead 15-30 on Söderling's serve before Söderling swatted three consecutive aces in response.

Breaking Bolelli in the next game, he set up break point by winning the longest rally of the match. Match point was also clinched with an ace.

On Friday, Starace beat Vinciguerra 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, while Söderling won 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 against Fognini. In doubles action on Saturday, Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt teamed up to defeat Bolelli and Starace 5-7, 6-7 (7/0), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 7-5.

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