About 90 minutes into his match with Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer, Sweden's fifth-seeded Robin Soderling was one point away from wrapping up a three-set win. But he allowed that match point and a couple others to get away, and the next thing he knew, the match was 3 hours and 52 minutes long before he finally ended up with a five-set victory, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 5-7, 6-4.
"I was very close, having three or four match points, and I couldn't finish the match," Soderling said. "But it's better to win in five than lose in five."
After losing in the finals of the French Open to Rafael Nadal and reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Soderling came in with high expectations to go deep into the U.S. Open. So, having such a narrow escape against a qualifier was a bit of a wakeup call.
"I don't know his ranking , but it's not so high and it was a very close match," Soderling said of his Austrian opponent. "I think everybody wants to do well in a Grand Slam. I'm very happy with the way I've been playing in the bigger tournaments for the last year and a half or almost two years. I think that I showed that I can go very deep in every Grand Slam. But I can't just go on the court and not fight and not play well. Then, you will lose."
Having survived that first treacherous step, Soderling should only get more formidable from here.