Sweden's Soderling fends off Dent for easy win

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sweden’s Robin Soderling held his ground against one of the biggest servers in men’s tennis on Thursday, beating American Taylor Dent 6-2 6-2 6-4 to reach the third round of the U.S. Open.

Slideshow ( 4 images )

Soderling, a finalist at the last two French Opens, showed no ill-effects after his grueling five-set win in the first round over Austrian qualifier Andreas Haider-Maurer as he slugged it out with the big-serving American.

“He’s a dangerous player, especially on faster surfaces like this,” said Soderling said. “But I was really happy with the way I played and to beat him in straight sets shows that I’m playing good.”

Dent smashed nine aces past the fifth-seeded Swede but Soderling responded with 14 of his own to wrap up a one-sided victory in just 91 minutes.

Having reached the French Open final in each of the past two years, Soderling said he believes he is capable of beating anybody on his day.

But despite being the number five seed, he said he did not feel any more pressure to succeed.

“I played so many grand slams and so many tournaments so I know what I did in previous tournaments doesn’t really matter,” he said. “I’m pretty confident. I know that I can do well when I play well but no one can play well every match.

Soderling is seeded to face Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, a repeat of last year’s last-eight encounter in New York that the Swiss master won in four sets.

His next opponent, though, is the tall Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker and Soderling said he is taking nothing for granted.

“We actually played earlier this year on clay (in Barcelona, with Soderling winning 6-1 6-4),” he said.

“He’s a good player. He can hit very well from both sides and has a good serve. He is a dangerous player, especially on hard courts, so it’s not going to be easy.”

Editing by Frank Pingue