Rafael Nadal was overpowering, Tomas Berdych did his typical fade, and Robin Soderling was relentless as Nadal and Soderling set up a French Open final showdown on Friday at Roland Garros.
It will be a rematch of the fourth round last year when Soderling stunned the Spaniard, who was dealing with knee issues.
“It’s always good to have beaten a player before,” said Soderling, the first to lay down the smack. “I know that I can beat him. I showed it. But every match is a new match, and every match is different.”
Soderling came back from 1-2 sets down to beat No. 15-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday, while Nadal beat No. 22 Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(6). Nadal has not lost a set in the tournament, and is a perfect 21-0 on clay in 2010.
Nadal says he is wary of the big-hitting Swede.
“He’s playing at an amazing level, very aggressive,” Nadal said. “He’s a very, very dangerous player. He’s one of the best of the world. It will be a difficult match.”
Soderling almost didn’t make the meeting, grinding out a slugfest against Berdych, who failed to put the Swede away in the final two sets, seemingly running out of gas at the end.
“It was really tough to play my game,” Soderling said, “because he was hitting so hard.”
Berdych nonetheless took consolation in his best effort yet at Roland Garros.
“It was a great two weeks for me,” the big Czech said. “Every round I won here, it’s a great moment.”
Soderling has defeated both Nadal and Roger Federer now over the last two French Opens.
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