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Söderling powers into Valencia semis

Sweden's Robin Söderling put his title credentials on display after dominating Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals of the Valencia Open 500 on Friday.

Söderling powers into Valencia semis
Sweden's Robin Söderling at the Stockholm Open against Florian Meyer, October 22

With the UK’s Andy Murray already out, Söderling is now the title favourite amid an

impressive season in which he finished runner-up at Roland Garros and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Eighth seed Monfils won in commanding fashion at Montpellier last week, but the lively Frenchman was soon trailing a 4-1 in the first set and could find no way back against his hard-hitting opponent.

In the second set, Monfils struggled for a solution before eventually losing 6-3, 6-2.

Söderling will now face the winner from the quarter-final between fourth seed hometown favourite David Ferrer, who beat Italy’s Potito Starace 7-5, 6-4 for his fifth straight win in their matchups.

Frenchman Gilles Simon came through a gruelling contest against Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 and will now play Spain’s Marcel Granollers in the other semi-finals.

Simon has emerged as Davydenko’s nemesis, beating him the last four times they have met, but he will need to recover quickly before facing Granollers on Saturday.

“This is one of the best matches I have played this season. I had to fight right to the end,” said Simon, now ranked 52nd, but a former top-10 player.

Simon, who won in Metz at the end of September, eliminated one of the pre-tournament favourites in Fernando Verdasco in the last round and quickly broke Davydenko who was struggling against numerous unforced errors.

Davydenko fought back after losing his serve in the second set and took Simon to a tie-break, which he won 7-5. However, in the final set, the mistakes that riddled his game earlier returned and he lost 6-3.

Granollers appeared to be on his way home after being knocked out of the qualifiers but following an injury to France’s Jo-Wilfred Tsonga he returned as a lucky loser and has taken full advantage.

Dispatching countryman Benoît Paire in straight sets in the first round, the 67th seed has now gone on to eliminate in-form Juan Mónaco of Argentina, who is fresh from victory over top seed Murray.

Mónaco was clear favourite and had little trouble on his way to winning the first set 6-1. It was then, though, that Granollers, better known as a doubles player, began his fight back.

Mónaco began to more and more mistakes and Granollers took full advantage, winning 6-3 to take the game into a deciding set.

Mónaco looked in charge after breaking at 2-2, but Granollers responded by breaking twice as the Argentinian player faltered and winning the final set 6-4 is now through to his first ever Open 500 semi-final.

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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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