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News & Photos / Articles / Soderling, Simon and Verdasco survive four set scares

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Second round for Soderling
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On a day when Rafael Nadal was pushed to five sets by John Isner, surprises in the men's draw were not only confined to Centre Court. No.5 seed Robin Soderling, a finalist here for the last two years, was over on Suzanne Lenglen Court facing a tough contest against the relatively unknown American Ryan Harrison, ranked no.119 in the world.

When the Swede swiped the first set from Harrison in the blink of an eye there was a sense the match would be over sharpish. After all, Harrison was making his maiden Roland Garros appearance, while Soderling has beaten both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at Grand Slam events and is used to grand show court appearances. Harrison's nerves began to settle in the second set though, and the tables began to turn as the man from Florida found his groove, matching Soderling shot for shot to etch out a considerable lead. The Swede clawed his way back to force a tie-break, but the set escaped him. Despite a determined performance by the underdog, Soderling's experience eventually told, and the 2009 and 2010 finalist won the third and fourth sets, closing the match out with an ace.

Elsewhere, Austrian eighth seed Jergen Melzer had an easier time on his hands breezing past Germany's Andreas Beck 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, while no.16 seed Fernando Verdasco came through his match against Argentine Juan Monaco 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 despite being treated for blisters. Other seeds that progressed to the second round stage included no.18 Gilles Simon who disposed of America's Michael Russell 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0; no.24 Sam Querry, who dumped Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4; no.21 Alexandr Dolgopolov, who defeated Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 and Florian Mayer, seeded no.20, who overcame Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Wildcard Arnaud Clement flew the flag for France with his win over Italy's Filippo Volandri but was made to work. Sporting his trademark sunglasses and bandana, the 33-year-old eventually dug out a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4 victory and was delighted with the result. "It was very, very pleasant for many reasons," Clement said after the match. "[It was] the worst beginning of the season for me in my career. And then on clay, I didn't do anything excellent, so I'm happy because I practiced. I was prepared. It was weeks and weeks of practice. My only objective was Roland Garros. And I'm happy because this is a win for me, but also because I see on this match that all the efforts I put in were good. My game was really what it had to be."

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