Söderling falls short in reaching Valencia final

Hometown favourite David Ferrer produced a fine display of attacking tennis to knock out Swedish favourite Robin Söderling 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and reach the final of the Valencia Open on Saturday.

Söderling falls short in reaching Valencia final
Sweden's Robin Söderling at the Stockholm Open against Florian Meyer, October 22

Second seed Söderling has been in the form of his life and with the UK’s Andy Murray knocked out, he was clearly the man to beat. Going into the semi-final, Söderling had yet to lose a set and nonchalantly dispatched Frenchman Gaël Monfils 6-3, 6-2 in the previous round.

Söderling had won three out of the four meetings with Ferrer this year, but they had won one each from the last two occasions. It was a match as billed between Söderling’s strong serve and volley game and Ferrer’s quality ground strokes, with the Spaniard coming out on top.

Ferrer controlled the majority of the rallies as Söderling made too many errors. Only 55 per cent of his first serves went in as he lost the first set 6-3. Söderling responded immediately, going 2-0 ahead in the second and went on to level the match.

In the final set, errors from both players led to several breaks of serve before Ferrer persevered to win 6-3.

Eighth in the world, fourth seed Ferrer has had a less than spectacular season, but still reached the finals in Rome, Buenos Aires and Acapulco. He needed to make the final in Valencia to qualify for the ATP Masters Cup in London.

At home on clay, Ferrer produced some of his best hard court tennis to beat Italy’s Potito Starace in the quarter-finals and was primed for the challenge of powerful Söderling.

An upset in the second semi-final saw lucky loser Marcel Granollers of Spain beat Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Granollers, ranked 52, came in for the injured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and has taken full advantage. He beat Argentina’s Juan Mónaco, Murray’s conqueror, in the last round and has now made it through to the final after out-playing Simon.

The Frenchman has been in good form and beat Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko to reach the semis, but Granollers broke at 3-2 before going on to take the first set and then also came out on top in a scrappy second to win 6-4.

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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