LONDON: Nikolay Davydenko clinched the last semi-final berth at the ATP World Tour Finals as the Russian defeated Robin Soderling 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3 on Friday.
Before the day’s play began, Davydenko knew a victory over Soderling would be enough to guarantee his place in the last four. Novak Djokovic’s win against Rafael Nadal earlier on Friday kept the pressure on, but the Russian’s fate remained firmly in his own hands.
He completed the job with a battling display in a match of the highest quality to ensure he qualified from Group B at the expense of Djokovic, who had beaten him in last year’s final. Davydenko finishes second in the group and will face Roger Federer while Soderling takes on US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the semi-finals.
Davydenko earned his first break point in the seventh game but Soderling closed the door on that opportunity with a powerful serve. Soderling failed to convert two break points of his own in the next game and the set went to a tie-break. At 4-4 in the breaker, Soderling tamely netted to hand Davydenko the chance he had been waiting for.
Soderling had to save a break point at 2-3 in the second set. However, he broke Davydenko to love for a 5-4 lead before serving out the set. Davydenko refused to be discouraged by that setback and broke for a 4-2 lead in the deciding set.
That was enough to end Soderling’s resistance as Davydenko held serve twice to go through.