Sydney: Top seed Robin Soderling underlined his credentials as an Australian Open contender by overpowering defending champion Andy Roddick 6-3, 7-5 to win the Brisbane International on Sunday.
The world number five, who had not dropped a set all week and only been broken once, matched Roddick's fiercesome service game and unleashed his deadly forehand to win his seventh professional title.
The 26-year-old Swede stayed calm as Roddick raged through a delay while rainwater, which had got under the roof of the Pat Rafter arena, was cleared from the court and sealed his triumph with a 16th ace after an hour and a half.
World number eight Roddick was always on the backfoot in the contest and required a couple of aces just to win his first service game against the powerful Swede.
That only delayed the inevitable and Soderling, who was running the game from the back of the court, got the break at the next attempt before racing to a 4-1 lead.
Soderling, who has never been past the second round at Melbourne Park, summoned up another trio of aces to give himself set-point four games later and went 1-0 up with a low crosscourt backhand that kicked off the line.
"He served too well today; it seemed like any time I had a look, he came up with one of those big serves," said Roddick. "I'm normally at the other side and it's better on that end of the serve."
The American continued to struggle to keep his serve at the start of the second set - it took him seven minutes to go 3-2 up - and the frustration boiled over when play had to be stopped.
Roddick was incensed at the way umpire Fergus Murphy had tested how slippery the court was and made it quite clear he was not prepared to take any risks before the year's first grand slam starts on January 17.
"I'm not going to get hurt before Melbourne," he told Murphy.
The wet weather in Queensland has left an area the size of France and Germany combined under water and Roddick, after the match, pledged to double his $100 per ace donation to the relief fund, boosting his contribution to $10,800.
Soderling had remained in his chair with a towel over his head throughout the delay and when play resumed was quickly on the Roddick serve again, racking up his seventh, eighth and ninth break points of the match against none for his opponent.
Former number one Roddick has never been one to give up, however, and he saved all three before succumbing to Soderling's 10th break point with a netted backhand.
Soderling cooly served out for victory before heading over to the stands to kiss his girlfriend and shake his new coach Claudio Pistolesi by the hand.
"We've only worked together for a couple of weeks; this is the first tournament and it's working pretty well, no?" Soderling, who pocketed a cheque for $73,000, said of Pistolesi, who replaced Magnus Norman last month.
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