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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2010

Tennis: Soderling upset by Llodra in Marseille quarters

Associated Press

MARSEILLE, France Top-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden lost to Michael Llodra of France on Friday, falling 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Open 13.

Llodra, runner-up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last year in an all-French final, never lost his serve and had 15 aces.

"I have great sensations," Llodra said. "I knew it would be difficult to return his serve, but I waited for the good opportunity and I was able to keep my nerves under control."

Tsonga joined Llodra in the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over lucky loser Illya Marchenko of Ukraine.

In a quarterfinal between two big servers, Llodra and Soderling offered few rallies but strong play at the net.

Soderling, who earned his fifth career title in Rotterdam last week, lost control of the first set in the tiebreaker when he missed two consecutive forehands.

Llodra, who beat seventh-seeded Marcos Baghdatis in the second round, made the decisive break for a 2-0 advantage in the second set, and won the match when Soderling sent a passing shot wide on the first match point.

"I knew he would be nervous after losing the first set and I put the pressure on him," Llodra said. "It paid off."

Llodra will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Mischa Zverev of Germany and wild card Guillaume Rufin of France.

Tsonga was inconsistent against Marchenko, squandering eight of 11 break points.

Tsonga, who reached the Australian Open semifinals, showed his nerves toward the end when he wasted two match points with backhand errors.

"Today it was not a great show, but I did what was needed to go through," said Tsonga, who will take on either fellow Frenchmen Gael Monfils or Julien Benneteau.