Dark day for French hopes in Marseille

Updated: 19 February 2011 10:47 IST

Sweden's two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling cruised into the Marseille ATP semi-finals here on Friday beating holder Michael Llodra of France 6-1, 6-4.

Dark day for French hopes in Marseille

Marseille:

Sweden's two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling cruised into the Marseille ATP semi-finals here on Friday beating holder Michael Llodra of France 6-1, 6-4.


Home fans will have no-one to cheer for over the weekend as later on Friday Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded six, went down in three sets 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, to Russian third seed Mikhail Youzhny.

Soderling, ranked four in the world and top seed here, was in imperious form and never allowed his opponent an inch as he powered down aces, hit superb returns off Llodra's service and winner after winner when they managed to get a rally in.

Llodra, 30, and winner of five ATP singles titles and a remarkable 18 doubles crowns including three Grand Slam victories, had hoped to gain revenge for an epic semi-final defeat in the Paris Indoor tournament last November where he held three match points before losing in a tie breaker.

Soderling will play either fourth seed Jurgen Melzer of Austria or Russian journeyman Dmitry Tursonov in Saturday's semi-finals.

Youzhny, who had already gained disfavour with French fans after putting out Gilles Simon in the previous round, saw six break points saved by Tsonga in the first set before he finally converted one to take the set.

Tsonga, though, fought back in the second set as the 25-year-old - champion here in 2009 - playing some fine tennis to easily prevail 6-2 but in a hotly-contested final set he was the one to crack as he was broken and Youzhny served out to take the match.

Youzhny - bidding for an eighth career title - will play Croatia's Marin Cilic, who had become the first player to reach the last four when he ousted second seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Repubic in straight sets.

The 28th-ranked Cilic dominated the duel between the two big servers to come through 6-3, 6-4 winner for the first time in three meetings with the top ten ranked Berdych, who was making his return after withdrawing from Rotterdam last week with flu.



Topics : Tennis US Open 2011 Marin Cilic Michael Llodra Marseille
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