Soderling advances after early U.S. Open test

Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:18pm EDT
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By Matt Majendie

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Robin Soderling avoided becoming the first big-name casualty of the U.S. Open as the fifth seed secured a 7-5 6-3 6-7 5-7 6-4 first-round victory over Andreas Haider-Maurer on Monday.

Soderling, a quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows last year, looked a shadow of the player that knocked out Roger Federer en route to June's French Open final.

During the match, he hit 74 unforced errors and struggled with his serve, managing eight aces to the Austrian qualifier's tally of 34. But Soderling insisted he was confident of strong run in New York.

"I feel pretty good physically and I had almost four hours of practice so it was not so bad," he said. "But I'm really happy with the way I've been playing in the big tournaments for the last year and a half, two years. I think I have shown that I can go very deep in every grand slam."

Soderling, cheered on by a vocal group of supporters wearing Swedish soccer shirts, had his opening service game of the match broken by grand-slam debutant Haider-Maurer.

He broke back to take the first set and looked set to win in straight sets but failed to convert a series of match points in the 10th game of the third set.

"I was very close to winning in three sets with three or four match points which is what I wanted to do," said the 26-year-old. "And of course it's better to win in three sets than in five."

Haider-Maurer, ranked 214th in the world and on his first visit to American soil, was unfazed in what was his first match against a top-10 player as he wrapped up the third-set tiebreak 7-2.   Continued...

<p>Robin Soderling of Sweden reaches for a return to Andreas Haider-Mauer of Austria during the U.S. Open in New York August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz</p>