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Friday, June 26, 2009

Soderling gets Roger rematch

The Championships - Wimbledon 2009 Day One

Roger Federer will face Robin Soderling in the fourth round at Wimbledon in a rematch of the recent French Open final.

And Soderling is not holding out much hope that the result will be any different than at Roland Garros, where Federer won in straight sets to claim a record-equalling 14th grand slam title.

Asked if he had any reason to think he could get closer to the five-time Wimbledon champion on grass, Soderling joked: "No!"

The 24-year-old Swede, who has lost all 10 of his matches with Federer, added: "I can play well on every surface and he has definitely showed that he can play very well on all surfaces.

"Our closest matches have been on grass and indoor courts so maybe I can get a little bit more from my serve, trying to get some more easy or shorter points.

"It's tough to play against Roger. I've played him 10 times and after the match I never felt like I played well. It's not because of me, I think it's because of him. He makes you play.

"It's tough to play well against him, put it that way. I'd like to improve everything from Paris."

Soderling can take some confidence from the fact that he has already achieved the seemingly impossible, namely beating Rafael Nadal on clay in the fourth round in Paris.

"Maybe it's the same challenge," he added.

"It's very tough to beat Rafa on clay and it's as tough to beat Roger on grass. But I did it once, we'll see. It's going to be a tough match for sure."

Soderling, the 13th seed, has been suffering from a stomach complaint the last few days but was well enough to beat Nicolas Almagro today in straight sets.

Federer surprisingly dropped his first set of the championships but responded in style to beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-2 6-7 6-1.

"I thought it was my best match of the tournament so far," Federer said. "We played a lot of tough points. I really thought from my side it was an excellent match.

"Of course you also need the opponent to come up with the goods to make it an exciting match, and I thought it was. I would have loved to win in straight sets but he came back strong.

"Maybe my serve let go just a little bit but he started to pick the side a lot as well and took the right decisions at the right time and deserved the third set in the end. I was happy how I reacted. I didn't panic."

Elsewhere, Ivo Karlovic won an unsurprisingly serve-dominated clash with ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 6ft 10in Croatian winning 7-6 6-7 7-5 7-6 on Court One.

Karlovic hammered down 46 aces and will now take on Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round after the seventh seed recovered from a set down to beat compatriot Albert Montanes in four sets.

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