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2011 starts with ‘dream final’

James Jose

1 January 2011,

Many had dreamt of it for the last two years but
Andy Murray and Robin Soderling had prevented that. This time though,
neither Soderling and Tomas Berdych could deny fans in the UAE that
‘dream final.’

World
No.1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal and World No.2 will battle it
out for the winner-takes-all $250,000 on the first day of the year
after the Swiss and the Spaniard came through their semi-finals in the
Mubadala World Tennis Championship at the Abu Dhabi International
Tennis Complex on New Year’s eve.
Federer,
who had lost to eventual champion Andy Murray in the first edition in
2008 before going down to runner-up Robin Soderling last year, rallied
from a set down to defeat Swedish World No.5 Soderling 6-7 (3), 6-3,
6-3. Defending champion Nadal, who had gone down to Murray in the final
in 2008 before winning it last year, cruised past World No.6 Czech
Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.
Earlier,
it was a matter of who would blink first but neither Federer nor
Soderling gave it away, though both did have a couple of chances to
earn a break in the first set. Soderling matched Federer and the World
No.2 had to work hard against a stoic Soderling.
Federer
had the chance first up to earn a break in the second game. Federer had
a break point after whipping a neat backhand cross court winner to go
up 30-40. But a powerful serve by the Swede saw Federer send his
backhand wide. Then, Soderling came up with a superb forehand
down-the-line before holding serve.
Federer
had two break points in the fourth game after he had conjured a
forehand cross court winner and a beautiful drop. Soderling sent his
forehand wide as Federer went up 15-40. But Soderling averted that by
firing an ace, his first of six aces in the first set. He took the
advantage after Federer netted his backhand before holding serve with
another ace.
Then,
it was Federer’s turn to be on the firing line as Soderling had the
chance to break in the next game. Federer double-faulted before sending
his twin backhands wide, to give Soderling three break points. But
errors by Soderling saw Federer come back before holding serve.
It
was cat-and-mouse as Federer had the chance to break Soderling in the
next game after coming up with a nice backhand cross court after a long
rally. But Soderling held on. Soderling then had a break point in the
ninth game after Federer had netted a forehand. But Soderling sent his
forehand long as Federer held serve.
The
issue went into the tie-breaker and Soderling was right on the ball
while a couple of errors crept into Federer. Soderling won the
tie-break 7-3 to take the first set. It seemed to be a big
psychological advantage for Soderling, who had halted a 12-match losing
streak to Federer at Roland Garros and has a 1-15 head-to-head record
against the Swiss.
But
it wasn’t so as Federer went for broke in the second set. The
29-year-old legend broke Soderling in the third game as Soderling’s
string of errors cost him. It was Soderling who finally flinched and
Federer won it on his second break point after Soderling netted a
backhand cross court.
Federer
broke him again in the ninth and took the game and the set on his third
break point after errors crept in into Soderling’s game.
Federer
went into auto-pilot mode in the third and Soderling had no answer to
that. Federer broke Soderling in the eighth game after Soderling had
netted a forehand and sent another wide and before the Swiss ace
wrapped up the match with an ace.
Categories: Sport News, Tennis
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