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Soderling Captures Fifth ATP World Tour Title

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Robin Soderling, Mikhail Youzhny© Getty ImagesRobin Soderling and Mikhail Youzhny had upset the Top 2 seeds in the semi-finals on Saturday.

ATP World Tour No. 8 Robin Soderling won his fifth ATP World Tour title Sunday when he became the first Swede in 17 years to triumph at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. The third seed was leading 6-4, 2-0 in the final of the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court event when Russian Mikhail Youzhny was forced to retire with a right hamstring injury.

As champion, Soderling received 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €277,000, while runner-up Youzhny earned 300 points and €125,000 in prize money.

The 25-year-old Soderling was contesting the Rotterdam final for the second time, having finished runner-up to Michael Llodra in a third-set tie-break in 2008. He is the first Swedish winner at the Ahoy Stadium since Anders Jarryd lifted the trophy in 1993.

Watch: Final Highlights | Soderling Interview

“It's been a very good week overall,” said Soderling. “I started out struggling a bit in my first two rounds, struggling to find my form, but I worked hard and managed to get better with every match. Obviously it's not the way I wanted to win today with Mikhail retiring injured but I am still very happy to end the week with another title.

“It's a tough situation playing somebody who is injured. You have to stay focused and I think I handled it pretty well today,” added the Swede. “I really wanted to win the title since coming so close in 2008. It's a great tournament with a great history and it is amazing to add my name to the great list of past champions here.”

Victory earned Soderling his fifth ATP World Tour title from 12 tour-level finals. Last season the Tibro native reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros (d. Nadal, l. to Federer) before lifting his first ATP World Tour title on home soil at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Monaco) in Bastad.

The week in Rotterdam has marked an upturn in fortunes for Soderling, who suffered a disappointing start to the 2010 ATP World Tour season after finishing 2009 strongly with a semi-final appearance (l. to del Potro) at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Swede lost in the first round at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Ginepri) and the Australian Open (l. to Granollers) but has now improved his season match record to 5-2.

The No. 20-ranked Youzhny, who held his nerve to upset World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals Saturday, was contesting his 13th ATP World Tour final and was looking to reclaim the Rotterdam title he won in 2007 (d. Ljubicic).

"I tried my best but Robin was too strong,” lamented the 27-year-old Russian. “My injury was getting worse and worse with every game. I could feel it since my match against Gael Monfils (in the quarter-finals) but today it was really tough for me to start running.

“I really enjoyed the tournament; it's been an unbelievable atmosphere all week and I hope to do even better next year.”

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© Henk Koster


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