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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tennis: Top seed Soderling beats Stakhovsky at Open 13

Associated Press

MARSEILLE, France Top seed Robin Soderling advanced to the quarterfinals at the Open 13 with a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 win Thursday over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.

Soderling hit 16 aces to Stakhovsky's 20 and converted his only two break chances, while Stakhovsky missed all four of his, all in the second set.

Also, French wild card Guillaume Rufin beat Belgian qualifier Yannick Mertens 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to reach his first quarterfinals on the ATP Tour.

Soderling broke Stakhovsky at 1-1 in the final set and finally won in just under two hours when the Ukrainian sent his backhand return into the net.

Soderling struggled with his serve initially, double-faulting at 5-5 in the tiebreaker to give Stakhovsky a set point that he converted with an ace.

The Swede's backhand return winner earned a break for 2-0 in the second, and two straight service winners helped level the sets at one apiece.

The Rotterdam champion will next face Michael Llodra of France, and Rufin will play Mischa Zverev of Germany.

The 19-year-old Rufin is one of the most improved players on the circuit, jumping from 1,046th in the world rankings a year ago to 154th this week.