Youzhny upsets Djokovic to face Soderling in Rotterdam final

Saturday, February 13, 2010

ROTTERDAM - Top seed Novak Djokovic paid the price for a day off as the Serb lost a bid for the final of the ABN-AMRO World Tennis Saturday 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6) to Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

The match-fit sixth seed will be playing in his second final at the Ahoy arena after winning in 2007. Youzhny will take on Sweden’s Robin Soderling, who lost the 2008 final to Frenchman Michael Llodra.

Soderling booked his spot over Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. The Swedish third seed, winless in 2010 until arriving in Rotterdam, has beaten Youzhny in their last two meetings.

Djokovic had not played since Thursday after intended quarter-final opponent Florian Mayer was unable to take to the court due to a hamstring problem.

Djokovic saved three match point before Youzhny went through in two hours, 15 minutes.

“I was a bit lucky in the tiebreaks,” said the Russian, who admitted that he was “quite tired after my quarter-final. I had to play patiently against him.

“Every time the game speeded up he would win the points.”

Youzhny is worried about being ready for his afternoon date with Soderling: “It will be very tough for me, there’s no time for recovery.”

Soderling is bidding to become the first Swede since Anders Jarryd 17 years ago to win Rotterdam.

Soderling set up his match point with his fifth ace and chipped home a volley winner to put an end to the frustrating afternoon of Davydenko on a court which the Russian had lamented was too fast for his baselining style.

Soderling voiced no similar complaints after improving to 7-4 in the series as he won his first tiebreaker over the Russian on a fifth attempt.

“I’m happy to have beaten one of the best players in the world. It could have easily been the other way around. Our matches have always been very close, we seem to alternate with the wins.

“I may have had some more luck on the big points (in past matches). But we’ve played so many times and they are always good matches.”

Soderling came through the opening-set tiebreaker after losing an early break. He quietly found form in the second set with a break of Davydenko in the ninth game before serving out the win.

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