Soderling overpowers Roddick to win Brisbane title
Updated: 2011-01-10 16:21
Robin Soderling of Sweden eyes the ball to return it to Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic during their men's singles semi-final match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament, Jan 8, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
SYDNEY - Top seed Robin Soderling underlined his credentials as an Australian Open contender by overpowering defending champion Andy Roddick 6-3 7-5 to win the Brisbane International on Sunday.
Soderling, who had not dropped a set all week and only been broken once, matched Roddick's fiercesome service game and unleashed his deadly forehand to win his seventh professional title.
The 26-year-old stayed calm as Roddick raged through a delay while rainwater that came under the roof of the Pat Rafter arena was cleared from the court, and sealed his triumph with a 16th ace after an hour and a half.
"I'm playing really well and what makes me really happy is I never really played well in Australia before," said Soderling, who has never been past the second round at Melbourne Park.
"I didn't have the results here and now finally I have won a tournament playing really good tennis, which makes me really happy. It gives me a lot of confidence for Melbourne."
World number eight Roddick was always on the back foot in the contest and required a couple of aces just to win his first service game against the powerful Swede.
That only delayed the inevitable and Soderling, who was running the game from the back of the court, got the break at the next attempt before racing to a 4-1 lead.
Soderling summoned up another trio of aces to give himself set point four games later and went 1-0 up with a low crosscourt backhand that kicked off the line.
"He served too well today, it seemed like any time I had a look, he came up with one of those big serves," said Roddick. "I'm normally at the other side and it's better on that end of the serve."
The American continued to struggle to keep his serve at the start of the second set - it took him seven minutes to go 3-2 up - and the frustration boiled over when play had to be stopped.
Roddick was incensed at the way umpire Fergus Murphy had tested how slippery the court was and made it quite clear he was not prepared to take any risks before the year's first grand slam.
"I'm not going to get hurt before Melbourne," he grumbled at Murphy.
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