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Soderling Wins Fourth Title; First Swedish Champion Since 2000

Bastad, Sweden

Robin Soderling© Arne Forsell/BildbyrånRobin Soderling is the first Swedish winner at Bastad since 2000.

Robin Soderling became the first Swedish winner of the Catella Swedish Open since his coach Magnus Norman won the title in 2000. The second seed defeated Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 7-6(4) in Sunday's final. It was his fourth straight win over Monaco.

The ATP World Tour No. 12 picked up €75,500 and added 250 points towards his South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking, while the unseeded Monaco – appearing in his eighth ATP World Tour clay-court final – earned €39,700 and 150 points.

“It is a dream come true to win this tournament," explained Soderling. "I think I played my best match of the tournament today.

"It’s very big to win a title in Sweden, I have always dreamt of winning this tournament ever since I came down to Bastad to watch as a junior. Now I have won it, it is a great feeling. My confidence is very high for the next few tournaments, as I have beaten very good players."

Soderling did not drop a set (8-0) on his eighth appearance in Bastad (15-7 lifetime). He won his fourth ATP World Tour title in one hour and 53 minutes – having won 62 per cent of service points, including six aces. He improved to 25-12 (17-5 on clay) on the 2009 ATP World Tour season.

The 24 year old had previously won ATP World Tour indoor carpet titles at 2004 Lyon (d. Malisse), 2005 Milan (d. Stepanek) and 2008 (d. Benneteau). He has a 4-7 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Soderling, runner-up to Roger Federer at Roland Garros last month, raced out to a 3-0 lead against Monaco – courtesy of a service break in the second game. He went on to win 71 per cent of service points in the 37-minute first set.

The top Swede won six out of six points on Monaco’s second serve in the first game of the second set, which Soderling won on his second break point opportunity.

The 25-year-old Monaco broke back for 4-4, and squandered one set point in the tenth game. But Soderling returned to top form in the tie-break, moving into a 4-1 and 6-3 lead.

“It was a very difficult match, as he was very confident, playing incredible and serving very well," said Monaco. "I had my chances in the second set with two set points, but he played very well. I gave my best, but he was the winner and I think we played a good final.

Monaco had been attempting to defeat the top three seeds in the tournament, having posted wins over No. 1 Fernando Verdasco (quarter-finals) and No. 3 Tommy Robredo (semi-finals).

The ATP World Tour No. 61, who dropped to 25-17 (23-11 on clay) on the 2009 ATP World Tour season, also finished runner-up at Buenos Aires (l. to Robredo) in February. He is 3-5 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals.

“It’s definitely a very good and positive week, following the disappointment of the Davis Cup [against the Czech Republic] played on an indoor hard-court," said Monaco. "This was my first clay-court tournament since Roland Garros, so I was surprised by my results to beat Fernando Verdasco and Tommy Robredo with good scores.

“I am excited about going to Hamburg [for the International German Open], it is one of my favourite tournaments. I am happy, healthy and go there with confidence to play another good tournament.”

Swedish players have clinched 18 singles titles in the 54-year history of the Catella Swedish Open.

Soderling, who finished runner-up with compatriot Robert Lindstedt in the doubles final, had been attempting to become the third 'double' winner of singles and doubles titles at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament. Mats Wilander (1983) and Magnus Gustafsson (1998) are the only players to have completed the feat.

 

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