x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Paris victory a huge boost for Soderling

He has been something of an unsung hero on the ATP Tour this year, but Robin Soderling appears to be raising his profile at exactly the right time.

He has been something of an unsung hero on the ATP Tour this year, but Robin Soderling appears to be raising his profile at exactly the right time.

The Swedish player picked up his first Masters title on Sunday after beating home favourite Gael Monfils in Paris in straight sets.

The biggest title of the 26-year-old's career has seen him move up into the top four in the world for the first time, and caps an impressive 18 months.

"I'm going in the right direction," said Soderling after Sunday's victory.

Since reaching the French Open final in 2009, memorably ending Rafael Nadal's perfect record at Roland Garros along the way, he has been consistent, without ever being spectacular.

His booming ground strokes have seen him reach the last eight of the US Open twice and Wimbledon once, as well as reaching the French Open final again this year, where he lost for the second time in succession, this time to Nadal.

But Soderling continues to improve and his breakthrough title in Paris could just be the catalyst he needs to push on and make a serious challenge for the major titles in 2 011.

Before that are the ATP finals, which start in London on Sunday, and Soderling said: "This [winning in Paris] fills me with confidence for London."

 

gcaygill@thenational.ae