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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Soderling downs Gonzalez to reach final

Soderling downs Gonzalez to reach final

June 05, 2009 21:45 IST

Robin Soderling kept his wits about him in a heated 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 win over Fernando Gonzalez to reach the French Open final on Friday.

Sweden's Soderling, the conqueror of champion Rafael Nadal, withstood a fierce fightback from the Chilean 12th seed to march into his first Grand Slam final.

He will face either world number two Roger Federer or Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday.

The match had been built up as the battle of the big forehands but the Chilean was left a breathless wreck during the first two sets as time and again he was left to chase Soderling's rasping winners.

Gonzalez, however, was unlucky during the last two sets of a nail-biting contest lasting almost 3-1/2 hours, with many close calls going against him.

At 4-4 15-15 in the fourth set, French umpire Emmanuel Joseph climbed off his chair but was unsure about where he should be looking when he approached the far side of the court.

He summoned the linesman to confirm where Soderling's shot had landed and to Gonzalez's annoyance, they appeared to examine the wrong place and the point was awarded to the Swede.

Convinced the two officials were wrong, the incensed Chilean sat down on the offending mark on the clay to wiped it away with the seat of his pants. Television replays showed Gonzalez had been right -- the ball had been wide.

Despite the setback, a fired up Gonzalez looked to have one foot in the final when he captured the fourth set and led 4-1 in the decider but Soderling hung on to level for 4-4.

At deuce on the next Gonzalez service game, umpire Joseph, in consultation with the linesman, again appeared to award Soderling the point incorrectly.

Although Gonzalez saved that break point, he was clearly rattled and surrendered his serve two points later.

A pumped up Soderling made the most of his opponent's misfortune and ripped a forehand winner to become the first Swede to reach the Roland Garros since his coach Magnus Norman in 2000.

Gonzalez became the fourth seeded player to fall under the spell of Soderling, whose list of victims also includes 14th seed David Ferrer and number 10 Nikolay Davydenko.

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