Soderling through to French Open final
Robin Soderling powered into his second successive French Open final today after coming from two sets to one down to beat Tomas Berdych.
Giant-killing Swede Soderling's dream of a first grand slam title hung in the balance when costly errors allowed Berdych to take control of the match.
But the 25-year-old fought back to win 6-3 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-3 after three hours and 27 minutes on a sun-baked Philippe Chatrier Court.
Today's semi-finals were the first in a grand slam not to involve Roger Federer since the 2004 French Open.
The world number one's quarter-final conqueror Soderling was aiming to reach his second successive Roland Garros final, while Berdych had already gone further than he had ever done at a grand slam.
The Czech - who crushed Andy Murray in round four - had not dropped a set all tournament and had comfortably beaten Soderling at the Miami Masters in April, though the latter had won five of their eight meetings.
Serve dominated during the early exchanges, both holding their openers to love.
Indeed, Berdych did not drop a point on serve until game six, but when he did, it proved fatal as a terrible backhand error and and a double-fault helped hand his opponent the first break.
That was enough for the Czech to go a set down and he could have fallen further behind when another double-fault brought up deuce in the opening game of the second.
Another deuce followed in game three before Berdych converted his first break point of the match a game later thanks to a Soderling double-fault and backhand error.
The Czech missed two points for a double-break in game six but it did not matter as he levelled the match three games later.
Soderling was hitting more winners but Berdych was producing far fewer errors.
The latter made three crucial ones to surrender a 0-40 lead in game three of the third set before two double-faults from Soderling handed him the break anyway.
Berdych did his best to gift the Swede parity in his next two service games.
After surviving 30-40 in the first of them, he was made to pay for a flurry of errors in game six as Soderling broke back.
The Swede also had 15-40 in game eight but Berdych clung on and was rewarded when he broke to 30 three games later before serving out the set impressively.
Soderling looked as though he might crack when he fell break point down in the opening game of the fourth set but he held before breaking himself in game six following another double-fault and backhand error from Berdych.
The Swede then stuttered serving for the set, recovering from 30-40 down to take the match into a decider.
A stunning backhand return helped him break to love at the start of the fifth but a double-fault and two forehand errors handed it straight back.
Soderling was nevertheless starting to find his range again and some brilliant play from the Swede took him to 0-40 in game seven, Berdych netting after saving the first break point.
And Soderling sealed victory with his fourth straight game when Berdych went wide serving to stay in the match.
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