HEAD racquet rebel Robin Soderling has broken through for a career-best ATP No. 4 ranking after winning his first Masters 1000 trophy with a dominating 6-1, 7-6 defeat of Gael Monfils at Paris Bercy. It was a day to remember for the Swede who swings a YouTek Prestige MP, as he inflicted his second crushing defeat on the Frenchman in the space of a week. The Paris win in just 77 minutes came after he beat Monfils in straight sets in the Valencia quarter-finals.
"It feels great, I don't have a very good record in finals, and especially here in Paris," said Soderling, beaten in Roland Garros finals in 2009 by Roger Federer and last June by Rafael Nadal. "It's great to reach the final in a Grand Slam and also in a Masters Series. But a final is that one match you really want to win. I'm really happy that I played well today, and now I'm here winning the title."
Soderling swept the first set in 26 minutes and fired the last of his nine aces for a 5-1 lead in the second-set tiebreaker with Monfils. A point later, a winning volley sent the Swede to the victory podium for the sixth title of his career and second time this season after winning Rotterdam indoors in February. "I tried not to show any emotions on court, I just wanted to be very focused on every point. When I won that last point, I just felt so happy and I felt so relieved. I really wanted to win this match so much."
Soderling is the first Swedish winner at Bercy since Thomas Enqvist in 1996. "I think you need to believe in yourself, that can make a big change," he said. "I'm feeling really good right now, and I'm going to have one or two days of rest and then prepare for London."
Soderling's rise in the rankings nudges fellow racquet rebel Andy Murray to fifth after his loss to Monfils in the quarter-finals. Soderling and Murray will join Novak Djokovic in the field for the ATP World Tour Finals starting on Sunday at London's O2 arena which wraps up the season.