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Soeda fails in bid to reach first final

Kyodo

London Olympics-bound Go Soeda lost to Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in straight sets at the Atlanta Open Saturday, failing to book a spot in his first final.

No. 8 seed Soeda, ranked 54th in the world, fell 6-4, 6-3 to the 63rd-ranked Muller.

Muller overpowered the Japanese player with his powerful serves, controlling the match with 17 service aces. He broke Soeda at 2-1 in the second set.

“I knew that my opponent had a good serve, but I didn’t think that I’d have that much problem trying to handle it,” said Soeda. “It gave me a lot of confidence to reach the semifinals. I think I’ll have a good chance, if I can approach the Olympics in the same way that I was able to play here.”

Soeda beat compatriot Kei Nishikori in the pair’s first ATP matchup in the quarterfinals on Friday.