Soderling seizes Rotterdam title as Youzhny retires

ROTTERDAM: Roland Garros finalist Robin Soderling became the first Swede in nearly two decades to win the Rotterdam Open as he defeated injured former champion Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 2-0 Sunday.

Anders Jarryd in 1993 was Sweden's last winner at the Ahoy arena. Soderling lost the 2008 final here to Frenchman Michael Llodra.

World number eight Soderling broke a personal title dry spell dating back to last July in Bastad as he earned the victory in 54 minutes.

Youzhny was unable to go on, ending his participation after losing serve in the second game of the second set after taking treatment in the first set.

"I'm sorry I could not finish," said Youzhny. "I couldn't move so well. I tried my best, I had been hoping to do better today."

Soderling's success this week capped his return to form after losing first-round matches in both of his previous 2010 events, Chennai and the Australian Open.

"I've always wanted to play well here again," said the former finalist. "It was a good week for me but a bit up and down,

Soderling said that an enforced rest at home after going out in Melbourne finally put him right physically and mentally.

"I didn't start so well in the fist few matches, but along with my coach we worked and my game is back. I'm playing really well once more.

"But that's all over - I feel perfect again."

The 25-year-old improved to 5-2 on the season and ran his record against Youzhny to 3-1 with win in their last three meetings.

Soderling and Youzhny had combined in the semi-finals to eliminate the tournament's top two seeds, with the Swede eliminating number two Nikolay Davydenko and Youzhny working an evening victory over world number two Novak Djokovic.

Youzhny was playing his fifth final in his last eight events while Soderling found himself in a title match for the first time in his last 13 tournaments.

The 45-minute opening set was break-strewn, with the Swede managing three while losing his own serve twice.

Youzhny, who had said he would be fragile for the final after winning his semi-final the previous evening, was stretched out on court for treatment on the hip problem.

But the number 20 made a recovery, breaking Soderling in the ninth game as the Swede served for the first set. Soderling got it straight back to take the opener as his return off a net cord landed a winner on a first set point.