HEAD racquet rebel Robin Soderling made Swedish tennis history as the first from the Scandinavian nation in a decade and a half to play the Barcelona Open final. Not since Magnus Larsson in 1995 had a Swede gone so far in the stronghold of the Spanish clay game. But the fairytale finish was spoiled as wild card Fernando Verdasco kept the trophy in local hands with his 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory.
Soderling, playing with his YouTek Radical MP, will have an immediate chance to lift his clay game with the one-year anniversary of his Roland Garros match-up against Roger Federer drawing closer when he plays in Rome.
"A final in a tournament like this is still a pretty good week. I’m looking to play at the same level that I had towards the end of the clay-court season last year. It hasn't been bad so far but I know I can still do better," said Soderling.
On the way to the final, Soderling beat HEAD fellow player Thiemo de Bakker. The Dutch HEAD young gun showed a fantastic performance reaching his first semi final on the ATP World Tour winning against No. 3 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 7 seed Juan-Carlos Ferrero.
In the doubles final, there was repeat success for HEAD player Nenad Zimonjic, who swept to that title for the second straight year alongside Canadian Daniel Nestor 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 (match tiebreak) over Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Knowles of the Bahamas.
Zimonjic and Nestor, the world No. 1 pair, are again dominating the clay season after winning Monte Carlo for the second straight edition this month.