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TENNIS

Söderling poised for Marseille final clash

Swedish top seed Robin Söderling is set to meet unseeded Croatian Marin Cilic in the final of the ATP Marseille Open after winning their respective semi-finals on Saturday.

Söderling poised for Marseille final clash

Cilic maintained his impressive run of form at the tournament with a hard-fought 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Russian Mikhail Youzhny, while Söderling downed Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1.

“Overall I think it was a good match,” said Söderling.

“Physically I feel good. I wasn’t aggressive enough at the start and I told myself at the end of the (first) set that I had to be more aggressive, which forced him into making mistakes.”

“Against Cilic tomorrow (Sunday) it will be very important to serve and return well.”

Cilic, 22, had coasted into the semi-finals with a convincing victory over Czech Tomas Berdych and had the measure of Youzhny from the early stages, breaking the Russian’s serve at the outset.

It gave the big-serving Croat, the world number 28, the impetus he needed to claim the first set with relative ease.

Youzhny, the number three seed, turned the tables in the second, the Russian tightening his service game and proving more resilient on his return of serve.

A series of unforced errors and a dip in Cilic’s service game allowed Youzhny to pull ahead, win the set and tie the match.

Cilic and Youzhny both lifted their game for the decider, the Russian gaining the psychological edge when he broke the Croat at 2-2.

However Youzhny spurned the chance to take the win when Cilic saved match point at 5-3, the Croat going on to pull level at 5-5 and then winning the next two games to seal the match.

Söderling and Tursunov, the world number 129, matched each other stride for stride in the first set until the Russian double-faulted at 6-5 down to gift Söderling the set.

The second set was a much more one-sided affair, with Söderling sending down eight aces as he closed out a routine victory.

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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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