NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fifth seed Robin Soderling is relishing an upcoming quarter-final meeting with Roger Federer following the Swede’s 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory over Spain’s Albert Montanes Monday.
The last time Soderling faced the former world number one in a grand slam, at this year’s French Open, he ended Federer’s run of 23 consecutive grand slam semi-final appearances.
As the only player other than the injured U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro to have beaten both Federer and world number one Rafa Nadal in a grand slam, Soderling is confident he has the game to beat the pair.
”It’s always a very nice feeling to play against the world’s best - it’s matches like that you train for,“ he said. ”It’s matches like that I’ve been dreaming of playing since I started playing tennis, playing at the big courts in the big tournaments. It’s very fun.
“I’ve played Roger many times. I know his game and he knows mine. I‘m pretty sure how I need to play to have a chance to win but it’s going to be extremely difficult.”
Federer defeated Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-3 7-6 6-3 to earn the right to face Soderling at the year’s final grand slam.
Soderling has dropped just one set in his last three matches but admitted he needed to improve his game to beat the top two players in the world.
By his own admission, in the opening set of his last 16 encounter, he lacked the sort of game to trouble Federer or Nadal.
Montanes, who has yet to reach a grand slam quarter-final in 36 attempts, had the only break point in the opening set and took it for a surprise lead on a sunny day at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
But the 21st seed’s advantage was short-lived as Soderling began to find his range with his big serves and heavy-hitting from the baseline.
Montanes’s fate was effectively sealed in the fifth game of the final set.
Finding himself a break point down for the first time in the set after two double faults, he kissed his racquet for good luck but it was to no avail as Soderling broke on his way to a four-set win.