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Davydenko Books Semi-final Spot At Expense Of Djokovic

Posted by on Nov 28th, 2009 and filed under  Top Stories, Latest News, Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko booked his place in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the expense of defending champion Novak Djokovic Friday evening as he defeated Group B winner Robin Soderling 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3.

While Davydenko and Djokovic, who earlier beat Rafael Nadal, have both compiled 2-1 match records, Davydenko has the edge over the Serbian on sets won. Davydenko has a 5-3 win-loss record in sets, while Djokovic has won one set less with a 4-3 mark. Sweden’s Soderling tops the group with a 2-1 match record and a 5-2 mark in sets won and lost.

Davydenko will now take on Group A winner Roger Federer in the first semi-final, as he bids to reach the final for the second year in a row, while Soderling faces US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday evening.

Davydenko is yet to beat 2009 ATP World Tour Champion Federer in 12 meetings with the Swiss, but believes he can overturn that tomorrow. “Each of the 12 times I played him I came in believing I could win,” said Davydenko. “It’s not like I was coming into the match and already saying I’m losing.

“But I know Federer is older, I’m also older. Maybe I am starting to play better and Federer not so good. We’ll see. I played great in all three matches [this week]. I would like to play the same way as I did today, and I hope I can run well tomorrow, fast, and not make any mistakes.”

The Russian went into his 10th meeting with Soderling in the knowledge that any manner of victory would put him through, while Soderling knew that by winning just one set he would avoid playing Federer in the semi-finals.

The players were largely inseparable in a first set played out mostly from the baseline, with both having opportunities to break serve but unable to convert. Soderling drew first blood in the tie-break, soaking up a barrage of attack from Davydenko before receiving a welcome unforced error to lead 4-3. The Swede was not to win another point, though, as successive errors handed the advantage to Davydenko and then closed out the set on the attack before punching away a forehand volley.

“All [the] tie-breaks that I have played in the past few months I have won,” said Davydenko, who has an 18-5 records in tie-breaks this season. “Maybe I have very good concentration really just in tie-breaks. It’s just very impressive for me.”

After saving a break point in the sixth game of the second set, Soderling gave the absent Djokovic renewed hope by breaking Davydenko’s serve to love for a 5-4 lead before capitalising on more of the Russian’s errors to level the match and force a decider.

In a must-win set for Davydenko, the Volgograd resident stepped up his level of play, only dropping one point behind serve in the first four games before the pressure told on Soderling. A succession of errors from the Tibro native saw Davydenko break serve to love and he went on to secure victory after two hours and four minutes as Soderling overhit a forehand.

The 28-year-old Davydenko will contest his eighth ATP World Tour semi-final of the season, and his sixth since July after being impeded during the first five months of the season with a foot injury. The right-hander has added four titles to his illustrious collection, including his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 presented by Rolex (d. Nadal) during a strong Asian swing in which he also titled at the Proton Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2009.

On his debut at the season finale, Soderling has ingratiated himself with British tennis fans after stunning straight-sets wins over both Rafael Nadal and Djokovic to book his place in the semi-finals. The Swede, coached by former World No. 2 Magnus Norman, reached his first major final at Roland Garros, defeating Nadal in the fourth round, and won his fourth ATP World Tour title at the Catella Swedish Open (d. Monaco) in Bastad.

Looking ahead to his semi-final clash with del Potro, against whom he has a 1-1 record, Soderling said: “It’s going be a tough match, that’s for sure. He plays really well. He serves big. He’s hitting his forehand very well and plays fast. So I think I have to play very well to have a chance. For sure I have to play better than today.

“I have to serve well. I have to move well. I think I have to do everything well because he’s a good player. He doesn’t give you many chances. He’s probably very confident now, beating Roger yesterday. So I have to step it up at least one level from today’s match. But I think I can do it. I played good this whole week. I’ve been playing well the past couple of months. So I think I can play well tomorrow and hopefully I will have a chance.”

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