INDIAN WELLS: Sweden’s Robin Soderling delivered a tennis master class in the opening set before eliminating fourth seed Andy Murray 6-1 7-6 in the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament on Friday.
The sixth-seeded Swede overwhelmed Murray with a dazzling array of deep top-spin forehands, flat backhands and power serving to race through the first set in just 36 minutes.
Although Soderling wobbled when serving for the match at 5-3 and 30-0 up to be broken for the only time, he recovered to clinch the tiebreak 7-4 when Murray netted a backhand.
“He played very well to start with and I didn’t,” a subdued Murray told reporters. “I didn’t move particularly well. I was hitting the ball really short and he’s obviously got a big game and he was able to dictate all of the points.
“So from my side it was poor, but he hit the ball really big from the back of the court and served well when he needed to,” added the Scot, who was beaten in last year’s final at Indian Wells by Rafa Nadal.
“I made some mistakes in the tiebreak, and that’s why I lost.”
The Swede punched his right fist into the air in delight and will next face seventh seed Andy Roddick, who powered his way past Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-3 7-5 earlier in the day to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells for a fourth time.
The big-serving Roddick broke the 18th-seeded Robredo in the 11th game of the second set before holding serve to seal victory in 78 minutes.
“I feel like I’m playing really well on my own serve,” Roddick told reporters after booking his place in the last four when the Spaniard hit a forehand long.
“I think I’ve been broken once, but I don’t know that I’ve had that many break points against me throughout the week.
“That’s always a good thing in that holding that easily makes my returns better,” added the American beating the Spaniard for the 11th successive time.
Roddick broke Robredo in the eighth game of the match to sweep through the opening set in 34 minutes.
The second set went with serve until the 11th game when the Spaniard was again broken and the American made no mistake in closing out the match in the 12th.
Roddick, who won his 28th ATP title in Brisbane in January, outplayed his opponent with his all-round power game, firing down six aces and hitting 19 winners in searing afternoon heat in the California desert.
Nadal and 20th-seeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic reached the semi-finals from the other half of the draw with victories on Thursday.