Soderling overpowers Roddick in battle of the aces

Robin Soderling needed 20 aces and two tie-breaks to defeat top seed Andy Roddick 7-6, 7-6 and reach the semi-finals of the Lyons ATP tournament yesterday. Soderling, seeded seventh in the indoor event, won both tie-breaks 7-5 to take a tight contest in an hour and 23 minutes.

Both players held serve throughout a match in which Roddick fired 22 aces but showed signs of nerves at times, notably when he double-faulted in the second-set tie-break.

Soderling, who won the tournament in 2004, now leads the American 2-0 in career meetings after beating the former world No 1 back in February, in Memphis.

"I love it here and I feel capable of winning it again because I'm playing really well at the moment," the Swede, ranked 27th in the world said. Soderling will meet Gilles Simon, who beat wild card Josselin Ouanna 6-3, 7-5 in an all-French quarter-final.

Simon, the fourth seed, playing his first tournament as a Top 10 player after beating the world No 1 Rafael Nadal on his way to the final of the Madrid Masters last week, showed more composure when it mattered.

Roddick, sixth in the ATP Race standings, did his chances of making next month's Masters Cup, which features the world's top eight players in Shanghai, no favours with the defeat.

"He played better than me in the rallies but this was a good preparation for Bercy," said Roddick, looking forward to the Paris Masters Series tournament that starts tomorrow.

"It's a long season," Roddick said. "Whoever tells you he's not tired is lying." Simon, who was ninth in the ATP Race at the start of the week, still has a chance of earning a Masters Cup slot.

Meanwhile, Mardy Fish, the American, has pulled out of the Paris Masters Series event, citing personal reasons. He will be replaced in the main draw by Marcos Baghdatis, of Cyprus, organisers said yesterday. The three wild cards were granted to Ouanna and his fellow French players, Jeremy Chardy and Adrian Mannarino.