Soderling in search of another miracle

ROGER FEDERER will face Robin Soderling in the fourth round at Wimbledon in a rematch of the recent French Open final.

And Soderling is not holding out much hope that the result will be any different than at Roland Garros, where Federer won in straight sets to claim a record-equalling 14th grand slam title.

Asked if he had any reason to think he could get closer to the five-time Wimbledon champion on grass, Soderling joked: “No!”

The 24-year-old Swede, who has lost all 10 of his matches with Federer, added: “I can play well on every surface and he has definitely showed that he can play very well on all surfaces.

“Our closest matches have been on grass and indoor courts so maybe I can get a little bit more from my serve, trying to get some more easy or shorter points.”

Soderling, the 13th seed, has been suffering from a stomach complaint the last few days but was well enough to beat Nicolas Almagro yesterday in straight sets.

Federer surprisingly dropped his first set of the championships but responded in style to beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-2 6-7 6-1.

“I thought it was my best match of the tournament so far,” Federer said. “We played a lot of tough points. I really thought from my side it was an excellent match.”

Elsewhere, Ivo Karlovic won an unsurprisingly serve-dominated clash with ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 6ft 10in Croatian winning 7-6 6-7 7-5 7-6 on Court One.

Karlovic hammered down 46 aces and will now take on Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round after the seventh seed recovered from a set down to beat compatriot Albert Montanes in four sets.

Eight years after Goran Ivanisevic wrote his name in Wimbledon history, another Croatian blasted his way into the second week with an awesome display of serving.

“When I was young in Croatia he was a star,” said Karlovic of his famous compatriot. “I watched him a lot.”

Novak Djokovic marched into the fourth round with an almost routine 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Mardy Fish on Centre Court.

Only a momentary lapse in the second set threatened to knock the Serbian off course, but he quickly recovered to set up a clash with Dudi Sela of Israel in the last 16.

In the women’s competition, Daniela Hantuchova apologised to her doubles partner after knocking her out of the singles.

Hantuchova, who is unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time since 2004, came from a break down in the first set to gain a 6-4 6-3 victory over Ai Sugiyama, of Japan.

“It’s never a nice feeling having to play Sugi because she’s one of my best friends,” said Hantuchova. “We’ve got such a great history together.

“She’s a great person so winning or losing I knew always it was going to be a strange feeling for me, so I just tried to take it as another tennis match and not to think that she was on the other side. I said sorry after the match.”

Hantuchova, from Slovakia, has been struggling with ’flu this week but will have the weekend to fully recover for her fourth-round match against Serena Williams, against whom she has already lost twice at Wimbledon.

Williams beat Italy’s Roberta Vinci 6-3 6-4, while fourth seed Elena Dementieva needed just 59 minutes to book her place in the last 16 by thrashing fellow Russian Regina Kulikova 6-1 6-2.

Dementieva’s next opponent will be another Russian, Elena Vesnina, who gained a 7-5 4-6 6-4 win over 14th seed Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia.

Tenth seed Nadia Petrova came from a set and a break down to complete a third successive win over Argentina’s Gisela Dulko.

Petrova managed to convert just three of 14 break points but prevailed 3-6 6-3 6-4 to earn a meeting with eighth seed Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, who gained a 7-5 6-3 victory over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

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