• Almagro sinks Soderling for Bastad title

    7/18/10 7:51 PM | Kelli DeMario
    Almagro sinks Soderling for Bastad title Fourth seed Nicolas Almagro downed defending champion Robin Soderling to secure the SkiStar Swedish Open crown. With the finals victory, the Spaniard claimed his sixth career title.

    World No. 20 Nicolas Almagro sealed a run to his sixth ATP World Tour title on Sunday, after defeating World No. 5 Robin Soderling in three sets. The 24-year-old held thirteen of 14 service games en route to a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 victory in nearly two hours of play. Almagro took home his first title since hoisting the Abierto Mexicano Telcel trophy in 2009.

    “It’s a great feeling to win here,” explained Almagro. “It’s always amazing to win a final and I’m very happy with the week. I’m going to enjoy this moment and then prepare for next week in Hamburg.”

    After splitting the first two sets, the players reached 2-2 in the decider. Almagro seized the momentum, pocketing the next four games to complete the match. The World No. 20, who secured 24 of 38 second-service points, ended the day with three of 11 break chances converted.

    “I didn’t play very well in the 2007 final here, but today I fought very hard and I’m really happy with the physical and mental sides to my game,” said Almagro. “It was a big match, a big fight and we were both battling like gladiators. Robin is a great player and I’m sure he will have many more chances to win this tournament in the future.”

    Sunday’s success signaled the sixth clay-court championship victory for the Murcia native. The 24-year-old has crafted title-winning runs in Valencia (2006, 2007), Costa Do Sauipe (2008) and Acapulco (2008, 2009). Almagro, who will enter the Hamburg event as the fifth seed, extended his 2010 season record to 33-17.

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Well done to Almagro! Strangely, and not so long ago someone (with authority) has predicted that Soderling will rise to No 1 in the rankings...

Adri , 7/19/10 2:10 PM

apparently dominating men's tennis during the 70's and forecasting the future of the sport are two different skills.

grafight , 7/19/10 4:59 PM

You don't say, grafight! That same player's opposite No. in the 70s/80s as in Federer/Nadal has also made some wild predictions as well, could be something they ate in those days. There was a lot of free love and flower power then, with bell bottom trousers and men with very long hair, and TENNIS PLAYERS in tight shorts - it could be the tight shorts, that's messed up their reasoning.

This said player, the American of this duo, actually picked Isner to win Wimbledon.

I said the other day that Soderling was the most over-hyped player, and I was attacked, by just one poster, I'll admit.

nadline , 7/19/10 5:45 PM

grafight: wonderful comment, just brill! And fortunately the eye of soran (spelling?) has moved away from Andy.....

deuce , 7/19/10 6:31 PM

nadline, i totally agree with you on The Overhyped Sod. He's been playing well recently, but not well enough to do without his jack*** antics.

heninesque , 7/20/10 3:02 AM

For a long time I have refrained from revealing my true feelings about Sodall in public for fear of being labelled a disgruntled Rafan. But since a few people have come out of the closet and aired their thoughts, I will freely admit to experiencing a certain gleeful pleasure each time he gets his come-uppance.

He was never a player one could warm to and his ill-tempered behaviour when he lost
was always a big turn-off. But for me the final nail in his coffin was the notorious incident at Wimbledon and the ludicrous line dispute in Rome.

for anyone not familiar with the Wimbledon episode, and Rafa's views on the subject I recommend the following: 5/nadal-you-re-a-rotten-sod-soderling-86908-19407600/

Since those days the calming influence of Magnus Norman have brought about an improvement in his on-court manners. Perhaps now (it is to be hoped) the commentators will refrain from referring to him ad infinitum as the only man to ever beat Rafa at RG ;-)

ed251137 , 7/20/10 12:59 PM

croc , 7/20/10 1:27 PM

croc, u dont have ANY idea how many ppl were annoyed by soderling till he matured as a person !!! ppl disliked him so much an dhe had NO friends in the lockerroom! he is better now....

i thought muzza answered all those stupid qureries , abt nadal being annoying due to those delays between points ...muzza said he doesnt care, rafa can take as much long as he wants to , doesnt make a difference and he just loves rafa playing..

vamosrafa , 7/20/10 1:52 PM

OK Sod has earned his 5th ranking he currently holds, but that does NOT make him a permanent threat to the top players, he is up there one minute and down there the next. I'm just sick of constantly hearing about how his big serve and flat ground strokes, are so overpowering, that he is now always the favourite when he plays Rafa, why then has he only got 5 titles in his entire career, and none of them Masters or GS.

He beat Rafa when he was not in a good place physically and emotionally, and the person whose pronouncements really gets to me is Wilander. For instance at the FO final this year he was going about how Rafa knows he can't beat Sod playing the way he used to play, because he knows Sod is too good, etc. etc. quietly forgetting that Nadal beat him 6.0 6.1 in Rome just before RG last year and Rafa had a 3.0 h2h with him before RG and the O2.

nadline , 7/20/10 2:12 PM

No need to argue, the rankings say it all - no.1 vs no.5 - who is better?

As for Rafa's antics, give me that any day versus Sod's 'in your face' showing you his fist pump, with a nasty grim look on his face. Please, I can't imagine anyone preferring that kind of antics over anything else! Strange taste!

luckystar , 7/20/10 2:35 PM

Sod is the most annoying player in the world. And i completely agree with nadline about the comments of Mats Wilander at RG. He said he would pick Sod over rafa in straight sets but because of his being sweedish he prefer to say Sod in five. i really couldn't believe my ears but it wasn't a surprise really cause he always picks whom rafa plays with. He was also the commentator at AO 09 and he was pretty sure about fed to win the title. everyone is sooo jealous of you rafaa ,keep going.

arwen , 7/20/10 3:04 PM

I see a little bit of Fed-fan-type comments. Poor Rafa. Soderling still owns all of you :P

samprallica , 7/20/10 3:06 PM

No samprallica, we (including Rafa) own Sod, not the other way round. You get it wrong!! ;)

arwen - it is understandable why so many are jealous of Rafa, its all about his achievements, his looks, his personality and his popularity!

luckystar , 7/20/10 3:33 PM

Rafa owns all right now, but since when did you guys get friends in such high places? :P

samprallica , 7/20/10 4:15 PM

Soderling, Tsonga, Monfils and others are outspoken about Rafa's time to serve. But at the end of the match they shake hands and let it go. Others like Murray, Nole and Federer don't seem to care and leave it up to the umpire.
The different with Soderling is that he was showing utter contempt toward people, not just Rafa but all the other players as well.

Rafa has said that he constantly tries to cut down the time it takes him to serve, but often he just can't.

I wondered what he meant by that, until I saw in a match against Tsonga that the public made A LOT of noise, mostly cheering, giving advice or asking if he will marry them. That is normal with popular players, but Rafa is super-popular and everyone wants to say something to him, so it takes that long just for the crowd to quiet down. It didn't take near as much for Tsonga.

That's exactly what Tsonga was told by the chair umpire, that Rafa was waiting for the public to quiet down and that is perfectly legitimate. After that I noticed how Rafa always serves right after the public is quiet and he seems to have improved a bit.

grafight , 7/20/10 4:18 PM

croc , 7/20/10 4:26 PM

croc , 7/20/10 4:31 PM

To be fair:

1) Sod is slowly but steadily trying to improve his own image and trying to be more polite. Its either he is maturing as a player/person or it is due to some PR work. I think he is basically not a bad person to start with and he is now moving in the right direction so I wish him all the best.

2) Rafa sometimes does take too long to serve, sometimes it is due to the crowd making too much noise, but sometimes it is not the case. I don't think Rafa did it on purpose, as I see that once he was rushed, he tend to make mistakes. It is more a habit and to be fair to him, he is trying now to change that and he does speed up a bit now. We just have to give him some time to adjust, and in the mean time more warning will come his way. I think by now, most players understand him better and will try not to be bothered by that.

luckystar , 7/20/10 5:05 PM

Here is a link to the unofficial ATP Race :

nadline , 7/20/10 5:17 PM

smr , 7/21/10 12:31 AM

edit :
he could DO with a little more charm.

smr , 7/21/10 12:33 AM

Some here have conveniently forgotten Sod's breach of etiquette at Wimbledon after he lost in the quarterfinals to Rafa. Instead of waiting for Rafa to get his things together and walk off the court together, as is the custom at Wimbledon, Mr. Sore Loser just walked off without even looking back. Rude and ill-mannered, but what I would expect from him.

To say that he has gotten better with his behavior, isn't saying much. He was at the bottom and had nowhere to go but up. I despise his churlish, boorish attitude on court! He is not a good sportsman in any sense of the word.

I am very happy that Rafa has now beaten him in two consecutive slams. Maybe people will stop talking about the win at last year's RG. We can see that when Rafa is healthy and playing his best, Sod is no match for him.

ed251137, 7/20/10 12:59 PM,

I agree with your comments about Sod. I try not to speak about it much, but when people talk about Sod, then I think it's okay for me to express my disgust at his attitude and behavior. I will never forgive him for what he did at the 2007 Wimbledon, as well as the line call dispute that went on forever at Rome. Outrageous!

nadline, 7/20/10 2:12 PM,

I also agree with your comments. Sod may be the #5 player now, but let's see if he can stay up there. He has been quite inconsistent this year. Now that he is up in the top echelon in the rankings, we will have to see if he has what it takes to stay there.

Nativenewyorker , 7/21/10 1:12 AM

I don't mind the fist pumps or the c'mons or even the intense glaring between points, especially if it's to celebrate winning a point or to urge oneself to go the distance. Outright taunting, though, IMO goes overboard & is generally a bad idea, since it doesn't just show immaturity but a lack of confidence in one's game. A taunter who wins is annoyingly arrogant, and one who loses is plain pathetic (not to mention on the receiving end of very satisfying beatdown). The fact that top players can win without resorting to it makes that feat even more admirable.

I've watched a couple of sod's interviews where he's almost likeable, so norman magnus' help is paying off. I've even admired some of sod's aggressive play on-court, so i think it's a good move for him to leave off the taunting & continue maturing as a player.

heninesque , 7/21/10 5:18 AM

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