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Soderling Maintains Winning Ways, Almagro Next Up

Hamburg, Germany

Nikolay Davydenko© Pressefoto BaumannNikolay Davydenko, playing in Hamburg for the seventh time, reached semi-finals in 2005.

In-form Robin Soderling maintained his winning ways, just three days after capturing his fourth ATP World Tour title – his first trophy on a clay-court – at the Catella Swedish Open in Bastad. The third seed hit five aces and saved six of nine break points to beat Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes for a place in International German Open third round.

“It was actually tough, tougher than I expected,” admitted Soderling, after the pair’s second meeting was contested under a closed roof while matches on the outside courts were suspended due to rain. “He played very well. He played fast [and] was moving well. Maybe I should have closed out the match in straight sets. I am happy with the win.”

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The 24-year-old Soderling has compiled an 18-3 record since May, highlighted by one ATP World Tour title, a runner-up finish at Roland Garros and a fourth round exit at The Championships, Wimbledon. The World No. 11 has a 26-12 record (18-5 on clay) on the 2009 ATP World Tour season.

Fognini, 22, ranked No. 72 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, advanced to the semi-finals of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart last week (l. to Hanescu). He has a 16-17 record (14-12 on clay) on the year, which compares to his career-best 2008 season mark of 16-18.

Soderling will next challenge Nicolas Almagro, the 14th seed from Spain, in a re-match of last week's Bastad quarter-final. World No. 40 Almagro defeated fellow countryman and qualifier Marcel Granollers 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 46 minutes - having hit 10 aces and won 65 per cent of service points in the pair's second meeting. He has a 20-13 season record, highlighted by one ATP World Tour title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco in February.

Sixth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer improved to 33-15 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season after comprehensively beating Florian Mayer, a German wild card, 6-3, 6-2 in 71 minutes. Ferrer goes on to meet Bastad runner-up Juan Monaco, who progressed to the third round when 12th seed Jose Acasuso retired at the start of the second set with a neck injury. Monaco was leading 6-1, 1-1 after 42 minutes of play.

Last week's Stuttgart runner-up and No. 11 seed Victor Hanescu stormed past Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 in 64 minutes to set up a third round clash against France’s Julien Benneteau, who ousted seventh seed Igor Andreev 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes.

French 15th seed Jeremy Chardy, who captured his first ATP World Tour title at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart last week, hit 22 past Andreas Beck of Germany 7-6(2), 7-6(8) in one hour and 50 minutes. The World No. 32 converted one of six break point opportunities and improved to 27-17 on the year.

He will next meet second-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, a semi-finalist at Hamburg in 2005 (l. to Federer), who knocked out Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-3, 6-2 in 71 minutes. The World No. 12 is making his seventh appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament, and advanced to the third round with a 21-8 season record (17-6 on clay). He clinched the last of his 14 ATP World Tour titles at Warsaw (d. Robredo) last year.

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