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TENNIS

Söderling win keeps Sweden in Davis Cup

Sweden has retained its place in the Davis Cup after Robin Söderling defeated Italy's Simone Bolelli in straight sets in Lidköping on Sunday.

Söderling win keeps Sweden in Davis Cup

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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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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