Soderling sets up Roddick clash in Brisbane
Top seed Robin Soderling will meet defending champion Andy Roddick in the final of the Brisbane International after repelling a fightback from former title holder Radek Stepanek 6-3 7-5 today.sports Updated: Jan 08, 2011 19:42 IST
Top seed Robin Soderling will meet defending champion Andy Roddick in the final of the Brisbane International after repelling a fightback from former title holder Radek Stepanek 6-3 7-5 on Saturday.
American Roddick later outgunned the 6ft 8in (2.03m) Kevin Anderson 6-2 4-6 6-2 in a battle of big servers in their semi-final to reach the final for a second successive year.
Rising Czech Petra Kvitova beat Germany's Andrea Petkovic 6-1 6-3 to win the women's title at the $600,000 Australian Open warm-up.
Beaten by her opponent in their last two encounters, Kvitova stormed through the first set and saw off Petkovic's sporadic challenge in the second to seal the match in 71 minutes at the Pat Rafter Arena.
Swede Soderling did finally lose his serve for the first time this week but by that stage Stepanek was already a set down and heading towards the exit at a tournament where he was champion two years ago and losing finalist last year.
Soderling, widely considered a serious grand slam threat this year, claimed the first set in less than half an hour but found the second tougher going before his 32-year-old Czech opponent pounced to break him for 5-5.
The world number five took it in his stride, however, breaking back immediately and then making no mistake with his final service game to reach his 11th career final.
"He is a player I don't really like to play against because he mixes up his game a lot," Soderling told reporters.
"But today I was able to handle it really well -- that's why I am really happy with today's match.
"Of course the final is the match you really want to win, but if I am going to lose tomorrow I still feel like I have had a very good week of preparation before Melbourne."
Roddick, ranked eighth in the world, also started well against Anderson, winning the ace count 7-4 to wrap up the first set with some ease.
Anderson, who upset sixth seed Feliciano Lopez in the second round, ramped up his signature serve in the second set to edge the battle for aces 5-4 and even up the contest.
The tall South African then handed Roddick a gift-wrapped passage back into the match by double-faulting twice in his opening service game, including on break point.
Roddick, who reached the last eight at Melbourne Park last year, took full advantage and raced to a 4-0 lead before claiming the match in just under two hours, despite the pair sharing the aces honours at 4-4.