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Swedish open

Nervous Söderling Takes Trophy

Published söndag 19 juli 2009 kl 16.52
Robin Söderling receives the trophy from its designer, artist Ernst Billgren

Sunday was a damp day in the southern Swedish town of Båstad, and the red clay of the tennis court was streaked across Robin Söderling's clothes by the time he clinched a convincing win over Juan Monaco in a tense second set and became the first Swede to win this tournament in nine years.

The two players both knew they were in for a hard fight - Söderling is Sweden's number one, playing to the home crowd and had already declared himself the favourite - but Juan Monaco from Argentina had been raising eyebrows after being somewhat under estimated at first.

The first set saw Söderling crush Monaco by 6-3, but the second one was far closer. Halfway through Monaco began to get better while Söderling started to miss. But Söderling had declared that it would mean so much to him to win this one; his dream of winning the Swedish Open was not to be denied, although he had to fight all the way. Söderling beat Monaco's set ball and went on to win the set on a tie breaker.

The final score was 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

'I am so happy. I would not swop this win for a Grand Slam tournament' said Söderling to Swedish TV4 after the match, and explained that in the second set he had become very nervous and tensed up.

The Swedish Open is not such a prestigious game as Grand Slams tournaments like Wimbledon - or the French Open, when this year Söderling made headlines with his stunning knockout of former world champion Rafael Nadal. But taking the Swedish Open trophy will mean a lot to Söderling, as he follows in the footsteps of other stars such as Nadal himself, Swedish legend Björn Borg and former Swedish number one Magnus Norman, who now works as Söderling's coach.

And as Söderling received his prize it was also revealed that the Swedish Open has been chosen by the ATP tennis players as their favourite tournament, gaining this award for an unprecendented seventh year in a row. Former Swedish world number seven Thomas Johansson says that this recognition makes him hope that one day Federer himself will turn up to compete in Båstad.

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