ABU DHABI // Spectators at Zayed Sports City Tennis Complex today will witness a repeat of the French Open final as Robin Soderling takes on Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Capitala World Tennis Championship. The Swede set up the scintillating semi-final showdown after beating the world No 1's Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2) last night.
Soderling, ranked No 8 in the world, has never beaten Federer in 12 attempts, but is getting gradually closer faced him in the past three grand slams. Beaten in straight sets in the final at Roland Garros and the last 16 at Wimbledon, Soderling took a set from the 15-time major winner at the US Open in New York in September. "Against Roger it is tough because he handles ever aspect of the game so well," said Soderling.
"That is why he is the best player in the world, and probably the greatest player of all time. There is little point in having tactics against him. "I know I need to serve well and take my chances. "Even though he is a great player, I think I will always get a few chances and when I get them I know I must take them." The 25-year-old player is adamant that every time the two meet he improves as a player and believes Abu Dhabi can bring out the best in him.
"The more times he has beaten me, the closer I am getting to a win," said Soderling. "I have come close a few times and each time we meet I feel like I am learning something. For me, it is perfect to play him here because I can learn so much from competing against him. It would be a great feeling to beat Roger. I beat Rafa in France when he was No 1 and it always feels great to beat the world No 1. But I know I will need to be at my best."