Soderling topples Monfils, takes title

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:49 PM ET

Paris, France - Robin Soderling of Sweden notched a straight-set win over Frenchman Gael Monfils to capture the Paris Masters title.

The fourth-seeded Soderling posted a 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) triumph in Sunday's final for his sixth career ATP singles title and second this year. He also won in Rotterdam back in February, then had lost three finals -- at Barcelona, the French Open and Bastad -- before Sunday.

Monfils, seeded 12th this week, outlasted Roger Federer in a three-set semifinal thriller on Saturday. He came back Sunday and was flat early, as Soderling won the first set in a mere 26 minutes.

The second set remained on serve throughout, but Soderling dominated the tiebreaker and claimed a Masters 1000 title for the first time in his career. His best previous results in such tournaments were semifinal appearances this year at Indian Wells and Miami.

"I'm really happy the way I started the match," said Soderling. "I came out playing really well. Then after the first set it was a little bit easier for me, even though he started to play a little bit better. I was a bit more relaxed and I was going for my shots. At the end I think I played a really good tiebreak. I'm really happy that I played my best tennis when it really matters."

Soderling, who never faced a break point on Sunday, improved to 6-10 all-time in ATP singles finals. He is expected to become the fourth-ranked player in the world, vaulting past Andy Murray, when the new rankings are released Monday.

Monfils fell to 3-10 all-time in title matches, including 0-2 in this event. He was last year's runner-up to Novak Djokovic.

"I'm in a learning process," offered Monfils. "Every time I get to a final like this something goes wrong, and this time it was the preparation. I had to rush too much. And also, at one stage in the match I tried to change my plan. I should maybe not have done that and keep with simple things. But I like all this, because it shows that when I will finally win my first [Masters 1000] final, it means I did everything right."

Sunday's setback also dropped Monfils to 1-3 in finals this year. He won in Montpellier two weeks ago after losing in Tokyo and Stuttgart.

Soderling also improved to 3-0 lifetime against Monfils, including a 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal win last week in Valencia.


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