Söderling powers into Valencia semis

Sweden's Robin Söderling put his title credentials on display after dominating Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals of the Valencia Open 500 on Friday.

Söderling powers into Valencia semis
Sweden's Robin Söderling at the Stockholm Open against Florian Meyer, October 22

With the UK’s Andy Murray already out, Söderling is now the title favourite amid an

impressive season in which he finished runner-up at Roland Garros and reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Eighth seed Monfils won in commanding fashion at Montpellier last week, but the lively Frenchman was soon trailing a 4-1 in the first set and could find no way back against his hard-hitting opponent.

In the second set, Monfils struggled for a solution before eventually losing 6-3, 6-2.

Söderling will now face the winner from the quarter-final between fourth seed hometown favourite David Ferrer, who beat Italy’s Potito Starace 7-5, 6-4 for his fifth straight win in their matchups.

Frenchman Gilles Simon came through a gruelling contest against Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 and will now play Spain’s Marcel Granollers in the other semi-finals.

Simon has emerged as Davydenko’s nemesis, beating him the last four times they have met, but he will need to recover quickly before facing Granollers on Saturday.

“This is one of the best matches I have played this season. I had to fight right to the end,” said Simon, now ranked 52nd, but a former top-10 player.

Simon, who won in Metz at the end of September, eliminated one of the pre-tournament favourites in Fernando Verdasco in the last round and quickly broke Davydenko who was struggling against numerous unforced errors.

Davydenko fought back after losing his serve in the second set and took Simon to a tie-break, which he won 7-5. However, in the final set, the mistakes that riddled his game earlier returned and he lost 6-3.

Granollers appeared to be on his way home after being knocked out of the qualifiers but following an injury to France’s Jo-Wilfred Tsonga he returned as a lucky loser and has taken full advantage.

Dispatching countryman Benoît Paire in straight sets in the first round, the 67th seed has now gone on to eliminate in-form Juan Mónaco of Argentina, who is fresh from victory over top seed Murray.

Mónaco was clear favourite and had little trouble on his way to winning the first set 6-1. It was then, though, that Granollers, better known as a doubles player, began his fight back.

Mónaco began to more and more mistakes and Granollers took full advantage, winning 6-3 to take the game into a deciding set.

Mónaco looked in charge after breaking at 2-2, but Granollers responded by breaking twice as the Argentinian player faltered and winning the final set 6-4 is now through to his first ever Open 500 semi-final.

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REMINDER: What are the new Covid restrictions in Spain’s Valencia region?

If you live in or are soon visiting Alicante, Valencia or Castellón, these are the new eased restrictions for the coastal region starting on Monday May 24th 2021.

REMINDER: What are the new Covid restrictions in Spain's Valencia region?
Photo: Jose Jordán/AFP

The Comunidad Valenciana’s persistently low infection rate – currently 20 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days – has allowed regional authorities to ease coronavirus restrictions, some of the strictest in Spain since the start of the third wave in January.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re living in or visiting the Valencia region soon. 


The curfew will remain in place in the region after May 24th but it will start later than previously, at 1am instead of midnight. That means that except for exceptional reasons, nobody can be outdoors from 1am to 6am. 

Valencian regional president Ximo Puig has stressed that if the epidemiological situation remains stable, the curfew – or toque de queda in Spanish – will be lifted as of June 7th.

Bars, cafés and restaurants

From Monday 24th, bars, restaurants and cafés can stay open until 12.30 am, one hour later than the previous closing time.

A capacity of 50 percent is allowed inside the premises and 100 percent on outdoor terraces. 

Sitting at the bar, smoking (including electronic cigarettes or hookahs) and dancing  indoors or outdoors are still prohibited.

Family and social gatherings

A limit of 10 people is established in public spaces both outdoors and indoors, except in the case of people who are living under the same roof. 

Inside homes and other private use spaces, the limit of 10 people also applies and only people from two households can gather.

Beaches and nature

The use of the mask is still mandatory when walking around on beaches, around swimming pools, lakes and other natural spaces.

However, as long as you can keep a distance of 1.5 metres with others, you will be allowed to take off your mask while sunbathing or sitting in one spot at the beach. 

If you’re going for a dip in the sea, you don’t have to wear a mask as it’s incompatible with swimming, whereas if you’re going for a stroll along the shore you do have to keep your mask on. 

Groups at the beach, swimming pool or in nature cannot exceed ten people.

Celebrations and events

The capacity is increased up to 75 percent for activities relating to celebrations, events or gatherings of a sporting, cultural or social nature, as well as for political rallies.

In churches and other places of worship it’s still important to abide by a safe distance of 1.5 metres between gatherers.

In enclosed spaces, a maximum of 3,000 people are allowed, while in open spaces, the limit is set at 4,000 people. 

In both cases, the capacity has to be separated into groups of 1,000 people each.

 In addition, eating and drinking will only be allowed in areas specially enabled for this purpose.


How Spain’s Valencia region achieved one of Europe’s lowest infection rates