Swede shoots down Schuettler's dream

19th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 January 2004 , MELBOURNE - A surprisingly lethargic Rainer Schuettler marked the end of a year-long tennis fairytale run, letting go of a massive lead to crash out Monday in the opening round of the Australian Open, victim of an atypical Swede. Teenaged Robin Soderling, dark-haired in a nation of blonds, took the upset with a pair of concluding aces against a player who came in on a four-match losing streak, including two this season and two at the Masters Cup season wrapup in November. A year ago, Schu

19 January 2004

MELBOURNE - A surprisingly lethargic Rainer Schuettler marked the end of a year-long tennis fairytale run, letting go of a massive lead to crash out Monday in the opening round of the Australian Open, victim of an atypical Swede.

Teenaged Robin Soderling, dark-haired in a nation of blonds, took the upset with a pair of concluding aces against a player who came in on a four-match losing streak, including two this season and two at the Masters Cup season wrapup in November.

A year ago, Schuettler produced a miracle showing as he reached the final against Andre Agassi, losing in straight sets to the American but gaining a boatload of confidence which carried him eventually to sixth in the world.

But there was no chance of repeat for the 27-year-old German Monday as he let his two-sets-to-love margin evaporate for a 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Soderling.

Sixth-seed Schuettler played a match largely devoid of emotion, appearing to accept his fate after running away with the first two sets.

The victory in three hours, 12 minutes, marked a number of firsts for the world number 57 winner from Gotherburg, who lost the Stockholm final last November as he made a long-awaited breakthrough.

"I had chances, but I didn’t win the match," said Schuettler, whose rise during 2003 from a number 33 ranking seemed to establish him as a Top 10 force.

The Swiss-based workman won 71 matches, third best for the season behind Roger Federer (78) and Andy Roddick (72), and claimed back-to-back titles at Tokyo and Lyon.

"He played better and better at two sets all," said Schuettler of an opponent playing in only his fourth Grand Slam and his first without having to qualify.

"I was trying to pressure him, but he returned very deep. It was difficult for me to get back into the match."

Schuettler out-aced Soderling 12 aces to ten but couldn’t profit from the challenger’s 72 unforced errors.

 

DPA
Subject: German news

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