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Soderling, Berdych Into QFs; Golubev's Clay Woes Continue

Bastad, Sweden

Monaco© SkiStar Swedish OpenJuan Monaco prevailed in an all-Argentine opener.

World No. 5 Robin Soderling opened his bid to reclaim his home country title with a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Argentine Diego Junqueira on a damp Wednesday at the SkiStar Swedish Open.

Soderling posted his most dominant win since defeating Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin by the same scoreline last September in Kuala Lumpur. He broke Junqueira six times from seven opportunities, limiting his opponent to just seven service points won during the 47-minute match.

Soderling, who improves to a 35-9 season record, is through to Bastad quarter-finals for a sixth straight year. He won the title in 2009 (d. Monaco) and was a runner-up to Nicolas Almagro last year.

Third seed and two-time Bastad finalist Tomas Berdych hit nine aces past Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia for a 6-2, 6-2 win in 86 minutes. The Czech, who will be hoping to win his sixth ATP World Tour title this week, won 69 per cent of his service points.

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“It was tough conditions out there, quite wet and heavy balls,” he admitted. “I played a solid game though. I'm feeling strong and looking forward to more matches.

“It was good to spend some energy on the court. It’s a tough transition to be back on clay after grass, probably the toughest transition of the year.”

World No. 8 Berdych has been consistent this year, reaching four semi-finals and six quarter-finals, to compile a 33-14 match record.

Eighth seed Potito Starace also advanced to the quarter-finals after he saved five of seven break points in a 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over French qualifier Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy.

Sixth seed and 2009 finalist Juan Monaco came through a rain-interrupted first-round encounter against fellow Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-2.

Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, the oldest player in the draw at 33 years and six months, did not grant Andrey Golubev his first clay-court match win of the year (0-12), when the World No.142 beat the seventh-seeded Kazakhstani 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and 11 minutes. Golubev is now 4-20 on the season.

In one other first-round match, Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer hit 11 aces to defeat another Kazak, Mikhail Kukushkin, 7-5, 6-2 in 86 minutes. He converted six of eight break point opportunities.

Rain has hindered play through the day, with a heavy shower suspending the action for more than one hour at 3:25 p.m. local time.

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