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Sweden's Sodering Levels Tie Against France

Dusseldorf, Germany

Robin Soderling© Getty ImagesRobin Soderling led Sweden to the title in 2008.

The opening round robin tie between defending champion Sweden and France will be decided in Monday’s doubles rubber after the two top tennis nations split their singles matches Sunday at the ARAG ATP World Team Championship in Dusseldorf.

World No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France opened Red Group proceedings against Sweden as he prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a challenging encounter against the 658th-ranked Andreas Vinciguerra.

Tsonga, who is making his Rochusclub debut this week, said of France’s title chances: “We have two Top 10 players and we have Jeremy Chardy with us. He is a very good player. I think we have a good chance.”

Robin Soderling, the hero of Sweden’s 2008 triumph, continued his success at the Rochusclub as kept his country in the tie with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 upset over World No. 7 Gilles Simon. It was his 12th win over a Top 10 player (12-31) and his second straight against Simon, whom he defeated last October en route to the Lyon title.

Last year, Soderling led Sweden to its fourth title at the ARAG ATP World Tour Championship as he became just the third player in the 31-year tournament history to win all four singles and four doubles matches during the same week.

World No. 60 Sam Querrey got the U.S.A. off to a winning start against host nation Germany in its first round robin tie after defeating Rainer Schuettler 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. The San Francisco, California native fired eight aces and converted three of seven break points as he recovered from a one-set deficit to defeat Schuettler in their first meeting after one hour and 45 minutes.

“I played really well,” said Querrey. “The first set wasn’t that good but then I kind of found my bearings there. I started really hitting out of my forehand and I thought my backhand got better as the match went on. I started taking some chances. It was working well.”

The 21-year-old Querrey is representing four-time champion U.S.A. for the first time in the Red Group in Dusseldorf as he looks for some much-needed clay-court match wins ahead of Roland Garros, which begins Sunday, 25 May. The right-hander had won just one match on clay coming into the team competition, reaching the second round (l. to Seppi) earlier this week at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.

American Robby Ginepri and German Philipp Kohlschreiber will contest the reverse singles rubber Monday. The two players will be facing off for the first time.

In the Blue Group, Evgeny Korolev gave Russia a 1-0 lead over Italy as he defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4. The No. 102-ranked Muscovite converted four of five break points and won 72 per cent of points behind his first serve to close out victory after 73 minutes and improve to a 10-6 match record on the season.

Simone Bolelli then levelled proceedings for Italy with a 7-6(1), 6-2 victory over World No. 1135 Stanislav Vovk. The 18 year old started strongly in his first professional match, earning three break points and losing just seven points on serve before losing out in a first-set tie-break. The No. 61-ranked Bolelli showed his experience in the second set, breaking serve twice to wrap up victory in 92 minutes.

In the other Blue Group tie, Argentina’s Juan Monaco defeated Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 7-6(8). Maximo Gonzalez will attempt to clinch the opening tie for Argentina when he faces Serbian Viktor Troicki on Monday.

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© Christian Pfander

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