Sweden's Robin Soderling served notice that he cannot be discounted for the Australian Open after overwhelming Andy Roddick in the final of the Brisbane International here on Sunday.
Soderling turned in a brilliant display of powerful serving and crushing groundstrokes in cool and damp conditions to see off a gallant Roddick 6-3, 7-5 and claim the seventh title of his career.
While Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are hot favourites to fight out the first Grand Slam of the year later this month, Soderling's performance in Brisbane suggests he has leapfrogged Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic as the man most likely to upset the big two in Melbourne.
The Swede has already beaten Nadal and Federer in Grand Slam tournaments, downing Nadal in 2009 and Federer in 2010, both at Roland Garros.
“I am playing really well and what makes me really happy is that I've never really played well in Australia before,” Soderling said.
“But now I've won a tournament here and I'm playing really good tennis, which makes me happy and gives me a lot of confidence for Melbourne.
Soderling, who will rise to No.4 in the world as a result of the win, lost only one service game in the tournament.
The results: At Brisbane (Brisbane International): Men: Final: Robin Soderling bt Andy Roddick 6-3, 7-5
At Sydney (Sydney International tournament): First round: Kim Clijsters bt Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 6-2; Svetlana Kuznetsova bt Jelena Dokic, 6-2, 6-2 . — Agencies