2011 Open 13: Robin Soderling vs. Dmitry Tursunov – Semi-final Preview
World number four, Robin Soderling continues his try for going three to three on tour as he plays his semi-final match at the 2011 Open 13 in Marseille on Saturday.
Starting the year ranked fifth in the world, Soderling rose in the ranking after only one week into the new season. Top seeded at the 2011 Brisbane International, Soderling made his way into the final without dropping a single set. Meeting defending champion,
Andy Roddick in the finals, Soderling maintained his no set loss record as he did away with the American and clinched his first title of the season. His title win bumped him to fourth in the rankings.
Seeded fourth in the opening Grand Slam, the Australian Open, Soderling extended his winning streak to eight matches as he made it to the fourth round of the event moving past Potito Starace, Gilles Muller and Jan Hernych. Soderling suffered his first loss
and so far the only one of the season against Alexandr Dolgopolov. Meeting the Ukrainian in the fourth round, Soderling was forced to exit the event after a grueling five setter.
Returning to the tour last week, Soderling played at the 2011 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament as the top seed and the defending champion. Successfully defeating Mikhail Youzhny in the quarterfinals and Viktor Troicki in the semis, Soderling set up a final
clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Surviving a mid match lapse against the Frenchman Soderling maintained a perfect winning percentage on tour.
Looking to go three for three on tour, Soderling started this week at Marseille. A finalist here on his debut-run in 2004, Soderling has always enjoyed quarterfinals runs or more here. Playing in his fifth year here, Soderling received a bye into the second
round as the top seed. Enjoying smooth sailing Soderling defeated local wildcard entrant Nicolas Mahut and Michael Llodra in straight sets to secure a spot for himself in the final four.
As he prepares to meet Tursunov for the semi-final match, Soderling has the “surprise” element playing both in his favour and against him. This is the pair’s first meeting on the courts.
A former top 20 player, Tursunov slipped out of the rankings after two ankle surgeries two years ago. Looking to get back in the top 100, Tursunov finally begins to climb this season.
Although the Russian hasn’t had much luck on the tour so far, his run in Marseille has been the lucky break he wanted. Unseeded in the event, Tursunov bounced back from being one set down to defeat Bulgarian wildcard entrant, Grigor Dimitrov in his opening
clash. Playing fifth seeded, Ivan Ljubicic in the second round, Tursunov enjoyed a straight sets victory over the Croat. Continuing his ascent, Tursunov upset fourth seeded Jurgen Melzer in the quarterfinal to make it into the final four.
Playing only in his second year here, Tursunov already surpassed his career best here and continues to beat it with every match. Debuting in 2009, Tursunov had failed to move past the second round falling to Feliciano Lopez.
Prediction: Although Soderling being a top ten player makes him the clear favourite, Tursunov’s recent performance has left two upset seeds in its wake. It wouldn’t be wise to dismiss the Russian so easily. A rising star
this week, Tursunov might just surprise everyone and make it to the final.