Swedish teenager records easy debut win

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Swedish teen Robin Soderling made an impressive ATP tournament debut today, beating Ramon Delgado of Paraguay 6–3, 6–3 in the first round of the $800,000 Stockholm Open in Sweden.

"Of course I'm surprised," Soderling said. "He was the only player here that I didn't know anything about, so I had to ask my coach, Peter (Carlsson)."

The 17–year–old Soderling, a wild–card entry, is No. 3 in the junior rankings. He's considered one of Sweden's biggest prospects in years.

In other action, No. 4 Guillermo Canas of Argentina ousted German wild–card entry Nicolas Kiefer 6–3, 6–2; No. 7 Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco downed Franco Scillari of Argentina 7–6 (5), 6–4; No. 8 Wayne Ferreira of South Africa beat Christophe Rochus, Belgium, 7–5, 6–2; and Andreas Vinciguerra beat fellow Swede Joachim Johansson 6–3, 7–6 (0).

In the featured evening session match, Swedish veteran Magnus Gustafsson beat Spain's Francisco Clavet 6–4, 6–3.

"I stayed focused until I felt stomach pains near the end, maybe I was nervous," said Gustafsson, 34, who will retire from the ATP Tour after this tournament.

Gustafsson broke Clavet once in each set, but needed three match points to wrap up the match.

"It wasn't pretty," Gustafsson said of the missed opportunities. "I wanted to finish the match fast and then you easily make double faults. It was nice to win, otherwise they would probably have called me Magnus "double fault" Gustafsson."

A two–time losing Stockholm Open finalist – to Czech Ivan Lendl in 1989 and fellow Swede Thomas Enqvist in 1999 – Gustafsson won 14 titles during his 15–year career.

Next up for "Gusten" could be U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, whose first–round opponent is Spain's David Sanchez.

"I played my last Grand Slam tournament (U.S. Open) against him this year and it would be fun to play a future top–ranked player here," Gustafsson said.

Hewitt, who could overtake Gustavo Kuerten atop the ATP Tour's Champions Race standings if he wins in Sweden, is the top seed here ahead of Sebastien Grosjean of France.

Thomas Johansson, the third seed, won the tournament last year to become the fifth Swedish winner in the last six years. He is making his seventh straight appearance in the Swedish capital.

Former two–time U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter of Australia withdrew from the tournament – one of the world's oldest indoors – because of a sore shoulder. He also wanted to avoid the long trip to Europe before Australia hosts the Davis Cup final against France in late November.

Other late withdrawals included former Stockholm Open champion Todd Martin and fellow American Michael Chang.

Comments