Madrid Flashback: Roger Federer edges Robin Soderling. Rafael Nadal is next

Roger Federer defeated Robin Soderling in two tight sets in the 2011 Madrid Masters quarter-final

by Jovica Ilic
Madrid Flashback: Roger Federer edges Robin Soderling. Rafael Nadal is next

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were the players to beat at the Madrid Masters in the early years of this event on clay, arranging three duels in Caja Magica. After winning the title in 2009 and reaching the final a year later, Federer returned to Caja Magica for another strong run at the fast clay-court Masters 1000 event.

His 2011 campaign could have been short, though, having to save a match point against Feliciano Lopez in the first match before prevailing 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in just under three hours. In the third round, the Swiss toppled Xavier Malisse in 71 minutes to set the quarter-final clash against Robin Soderling, who defeated him at Roland Garros a year ago.

The Madrid duel was their 17th and last. Federer scored a 7-6, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 43 minutes for his 16th victory over the Swede. Thus, he moved into the last four and joined Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Robin served at 53% and gave his best to draw the most from that and stay in touch with a better-ranked opponent.

He fended off five out of six break chances and took ten points fewer than Roger. The Swiss did everything right in his games. He saved both break opportunities offered to the Swede and played better when it mattered the most to seal the deal in straight sets and face Rafael Nadal for the third consecutive year in Caja Magica.

Roger held in the encounter's opening game with a perfect drop shot, followed by a hold at love from Soderling.

Roger Federer defeated Robin Soderling in the 2011 Madrid Open quarter-final.

Robin stayed in touch in the opening 40 minutes before serving to prolong the set at 4-5.

Federer created two set points, and Soderling denied them with winners, surviving that test and extending the action. Soderling saved another set point with a perfect volley winner in the 12th game to reach a tie break. He could not find his strokes when needing them the most, allowing Federer to close the breaker with a service winner on the fourth set point at 6-2 after an hour.

Robin defended two break chances in the second set's third game to keep his serve intact. He earned a massive opportunity to move in front at 3-2 after opening a 40-15 advantage. Staying calm, Federer repelled both break points and closed the game with a crafty forehand winner to lock the result at 3-3.

A lucky net cord winner provided a break chance for Roger in the ninth game. He converted it with a marvelous volley winner to secure the encounter's first break and serve for the triumph. Three winners in the tenth game were enough for Federer to seal the deal, advancing into the semi-final for the third straight year and arranging another meeting with Rafael Nadal.

Roger Federer Robin Soderling Rafael Nadal