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Federer at the US Open
« on: September 07, 2010, 08:39:18 PM »
By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

NEW YORK – Now, the names opposite Roger Federer's in the bracket will start looking more familiar.

Maybe uncomfortably so.

The five-time U.S. Open winner grinded down No. 13 Jurgen Melzer, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3, for yet another straight-set victory at Flushing Meadows on Monday night. Next up — a meeting with one of the few players who has enjoyed success against both Federer and Rafael Nadal on the sport's biggest stages.

That would be No. 5 Robin Soderling, who defeated No. 21 Albert Montanes 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the second straight year.

The runs at the U.S. Open are nice, but where Soderling has really made his name is against Nadal and Federer at recent French Opens.

He beat Federer at this year's French to end Fed's string of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinal appearances. Last year, Soderling notched a fourth-round victory over Nadal at Roland Garros that, coincidentally, simplified Federer's path to finally complete the career Grand Slam. With Nadal out of the way, Federer's opponent in last year's French final: Soderling.

The Swede, ranked a career-high fifth at this year's U.S. Open, is one of only two players (Juan Martin del Potro is the other) with Grand Slam victories over both of the world's top two players.

"I think it's always a very nice feeling to play against the world's best," Soderling said. "It's matches like that that you train for. It's matches like that I've been dreaming of playing since I started playing tennis. You know, playing at the big courts in the big tournaments. It's very fun."

So far, Federer has been enjoying his stay at Flushing Meadows, where he has won 44 of his last 45 matches — the only loss coming to del Potro in last year's final. The second set of the Melzer match offered some perspective into how difficult it can be to break through against the player with a record 16 major titles.

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