NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sweden’s Robin Soderling is on a crash course with five-time U.S. Open winner and familiar foe Roger Federer in the quarter-finals should the pair win their next matches at the U.S. Open on Monday.
The big-serving number five seed did not look troubled by the gusting winds at Flushing Meadows on Saturday as he raced to a 6-2 6-3 6-3 win against Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker.
In the past, the idea of a last eight meeting with arguably the greatest player of all time might have caused a sense of dread for Soderling.
But the Swede has earned a reputation as a giant-killer in recent grand slams.
At this year’s French Open, he knocked out Roger Federer in one of the biggest shocks of the entire tournament, a blow he also dealt to Rafa Nadal a year earlier at Roland Garros.
After dispatching de Bakker in just one hour 42 minutes - his second consecutive straight-sets win - his confidence is sky high ahead of the possible Federer rematch.
”Everybody has been telling me since the draw came out that I‘m going against Roger in the quarters,“ said Soderling. ”I still have to win one more match so it’s still far ahead.
“But I‘m the fifth seed so I knew I was going to play one of the four top guys in the quarters. They’re all good players so it doesn’t really matter who I‘m playing.”
At Roland Garros, Soderling recovered from a one-set deficit to defeat Federer in four sets in the quarter-finals for one of the most high-profile and wins of his career.
“It was definitely a very good match - it’s tough to say if it was one of my best ones, but of course, you know, it’s always difficult to play against Roger,” added the 26-year-old, who was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Federer at last year’s U.S. Open.
“I played him a lot of times and I think almost except from that last match I never felt that I played well. But that’s not because of me. That’s because of him, because he makes you play bad.”
Prior to a possible meeting with Federer, Soderling will face 21st seed Albert Montanes of Spain, who advanced when Japan’s Kei Nishikori pulled out early in the second set of their match because of a groin injury.
Editing by Frank Pingue