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Swede win for Soderling

sports Updated: Jun 06, 2009 00:00 IST

AFP
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Robin Soderling reached the French Open final on Friday with a dramatic 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Chile's Fernando Gonzalez.

The 24-year-old clinched a famous victory, coming back from 1-4 down in the final set, to reach his first Grand Slam final.

Soderling, who had never got beyond the third round in any of his 21 previous majors, is the first Swede to reach the final since coach Magnus Norman in 2000 while Mats Wilander was the country's last champion in 1988.

"It's unbelievable. I played well in the first two sets. Then he started to play incredibly well," said the Swede.

Soderling stormed to a 5-2 lead before a service hold allowed him to claim the opening set.

Gonazalez had to save three break points in the ninth game of the second set before Soderling saved a set point in the 10th with an ace.

The 28-year-old Chilean saved three break points in the 11th game, before a Soderling grabbed a 6-5 lead. That became a two-sets advantage when Gonzalez pushed a forehand wide after fruitlessly chasing a Soderling drive.

With NBA hero Tony Parker and his actress wife Eva Longoria slipping into the VIP box, Gonzalez slashed the deficit, taking the third set when a Soderling forehand lost its sense of direction.

Gonzalez took the fourth set when Soderling pushed a weak forehand wide. The Chilean was ahead in the decider, but Soderling retrieved the break twice to lead 5-4. He claimed victory with a power-packed deep forehand.