French Open Final: Rafael Nadal v. Robin Soderling, Who’s the Pick?
by Sean Randall | June 5th, 2010
  • 398 Comments

It’s not Rafael Nadal against Roger Federer for the French Open title Sunday morning, but arguably it’s the next best thing. With deference to clay purists who may have preferred David Ferrer or Fernando Verdasco playing tomorrow, Robin Soderling’s return to the French Open finals adds some extra kick to the title match, especially so because Nadal finally gets a proper chance at revenge.

It was Soderling a year ago stunning Nadal in the French Open fourth round in one of the most memorable and surprising upsets in recent tennis history. As I wrote back then, Robin effectively punched Nadal in the face and knocked him. Now, to collect his first Grand Slam title the hot-headed Swede will have to do it again.

Yes, an encore. Good luck.

Nadal may not be playing his best – he’s played better – but he’s got to be zoned in on taking down Robin and not just for having his revenge but also re-establishing himself as the undisputed King of Clay.

“I never believe on revenges. I believe on try my best in every moment, and if I lose, I lose, and congratulate Robin because he did better than me,” Nadal said Friday. “You know, for me, doesn’t exist revenge in not one match, and especially we talk about final of Roland Garros.”

Soderling, however, is among the few who has that rare win over Nadal and the confidence that he can do it again.

“Well, we played many times,” the Swede said. “He beat me a lot of times, and I beat him a few times. So it was not the last match. You know, we played one or two times after that. But of course it’s always good to have beaten a player before. I know that I can beat him. I showed it. But, again, you know, every match is a new match, and every match is different.”

Nadal still is ahead in their rivalry 3-2, but Robin has won five of the last six sets which includes a straight-set win in London last fall. However, you could make the case that Nadal wasn’t 100% right in the mind and body when he lost to Soderling a year ago in Paris nor was he in the best shape during in London.

That said, Soderling does bring a game that matches up well against Nadal. Here’s the breakdown.

Forehand
Edge: Nadal
It may not be the most powerful forehand in the sport (see Juan Martin Del Potro), but for me it’s still the most effective. And even against a power baller like Soderling, I give the heavy, lefty topspin that Nadal generates the edge over anybody, especially on the vast and familiar confines of court Philippe Chatrier.

Soderling can hit his any number of ways. Flat, spinny, hard and often harder. And with his big open stance and loopy string it hard to get on a read on the direction. But Nadal’s still won more Slams with that forehand than Robin’s won titles. And that’s what counts.

Backhand
Edge: Nadal
Perhaps one of the most underrated shots in the game, Nadal’s backhand doesn’t produce the electrifying winners that his forehand does, but it’s his rock. He rarely misses, often passes and on occasion can create some jaw-dropping angles off that wing. Soderling’s got a dynamite backhand as well, but it’s simply more prone to errors than Nadal’s.

Serve
Edge: Soderling
Soderling proved in his win over Federer just how good his serve can be. In heavy, wet conditions the 25-year-old still was able to bomb away at Federer who is one of the better returners in tennis. Meanwhile, Nadal’s serve continues to be his weakness. Rafa hasn’t dropped a set during this French Open but the fact is players are still getting break chances on the dirt with some regularity. And that’s worrisome.

Volley/Net Play
Edge: Even
Both are solid and in and around the net. Soderling’s a little more aggressive in his approach whereas Nadal usually makes visits to the net when the point is well in control. The match tomorrow probably won’t be won or lost up there – Soderling doesn’t use the dropshop much – but the more Rafa’s off the baseline the better for the Swede.

Speed
Edge: Nadal
Soderling moves darn well for a big guy, especially on the clay, but Nadal’s a horse.

X-Factor
Edge: Nadal
Soderling has won two straight over Nadal but the element of surprise Robin had in Pars last year is long gone. Nadal has a full 48 hours to focus on beating Soderling plus having to taste the sting of that loss for the last 12 months. And Soderling could be feeling some fatigue from his five set battle with Berdych Friday. If the conditions stay warm and dry that also helps Nadal, although rain is the chatter and that could become a factor.

The Pick
Honestly, it wouldn’t shock me to see Robin win again. I think he’s playing better tennis and with more confidence right now than Nadal and better than he was a year ago when he beat the Spaniard. But with the situation and the scenario the way it is – Nadal gets revenge, gets No. 1, regains his King of Clay status – it’s difficult to see Rafa letting this opportunity slip away.

As I said, maybe last year Nadal wasn’t at 100%. Now he is. And he’s tailored this clay season around winning Sunday, June 6. That’s it. And having Soderling across the net has to make it even more important for Nadal.

But Soderling’s wins over Rafa are no flukes.

The Swede can handle Nadal’s go-to forehand-to-backhand exchanges about as well as anyone, and he can offer his own powerful forehand blow in return. Soderling also has a massive serve that gets him out trouble. And his fiery attitude seems to keep him from getting too caught up in the moment again bigtime players.

Matchup-wise, Soderling will have to go for his shots, serve big and keep Rafa on the defense especially on Nadal’s second serves. That means hard, penetrating shots which is really Soderling’s MO. For Nadal, he needs to minimize the errors and just play solid, claycourt tennis. If he’s making cheap errors than Soderling’s confidence will only increase.

And while Soderling did handily beat Federer, he was in some way lucky to get through Berdych. And that’s somewhat troubling.

This is also Soderling’s second time around in a Slam final. Unfortunately he’s running into another legend on Sunday. I like Nadal in three tight sets.


Also Check Out:
Who’s the Pick for Wimbledon? Federer? Nadal? Someone Else?
Is Robin Soderling’s 2012 Tennis Season Over?
Nadal vs. Soderling French Final After Fade by Berdych
Who’s That Running? Who’s That Stripping? Why It’s Rafael Nadal! [Video]
Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka In The Australian Open Final, Who’s The Pick? Roger-Rafa Redux

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398 Comments for French Open Final: Rafael Nadal v. Robin Soderling, Who’s the Pick?

tfouto Says:

i would say Nadal in 3 or 4.

An interesting link on Nadal topsin…

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/video/05062010/58/makes-rafa-king-clay.html


Ben Pronin Says:

If Nadal wins without dropping a set, the second time in his career, that would be quite telling. In 08, there was no questioning his dominance, but he’s had to tough out a number of sets throughout the last two weeks and he’s yet to fail. If he does the same tomorrow, the aura of invincibility could come back in full flight for the Spaniard.

Interesting trivia: should Nadal win tomorrow, it will be the first slam he’s ever won without beating Federer. Up to now, he’s 6/6 (compared to Fed’s 2/16 on beating Nadal en route). Besides the semi streak being snapped, it would also mark the first slam since the 04 French where the champion didn’t have to go through Federer. Of course, that streak would continue if Soderling wins. It really is Federer’s world.


ánima Says:

I agree with the analysis, specially the surprise factor, which I also think is gone. Still, Nadal needs to focus and not to get nervous, like in the last set against Melzer. Soderling will be looking for any chink in Nadal’s armour…

BTW, according to the forecast, Sunday will be a rainy day in Paris.


van orten Says:

most effective forehand????
the best and most effective forehand the sport ever seen is federers. there is no doubt but really no doubt about it. so again it is very easy to pick nadal,
and the neverending story wether he was or not at 100%. how many times nadal wins vs players who are not at 100% how many times he won against a federer not playing his A game. it’s unspeakable to argue about that. it’s the lamest excuse that seem to count only for nadal. he loses only because he plays bad or is off-form? no way joseeey


csl24 Says:

I would also give Nadal the edge. Soderling has every weapon it takes to defeat Nadal, but Rafa’s refusing to lose mindset is his greatest tool. Far as saying Nadal’s forehand is the best in the sport that honor still goes to Federer. The various options he has on that shot is like none other. Having said that, Nadal’s extreme spinning forehand ironically is Federer’s biggest kryptonite.


blank Says:

There should be another category: Power. And, Soderling wins in that category.

That’s going to matter more tomorrow. Rain is forecast for all day. I am sure we’ll get the match done tomorrow, but the conditions are going to be much like the Soda-Fed match. The reason why Soda and Berdy have been able to do so well here is partly because of the conditions that help their power game. It’s like giving them all the time in a dead-ball situation to power thru their shot.

That’s a huge advantage for Soda. For that reason, tomorrow even if Nadal wins, it’s going to be longer than 3 sets.


Voicemale1 Says:

Van Orten:

The ATP Tour players were interviewed a year or so ago to weigh in on which player had “The Best” of any given shot. When they got to the Forehand, most of the tour players were split on the Federer Forehand and the Nadal Forehand as The Best (Gonzo got a couple of mentions). Murray chimed in on the subject this way. He said it was a close call between Federer and Nadal, but the edge went to Nadal for one reason: day in and day out, Nadal makes fewer errors of the Forehand than Federer does. Which is true. Federer has more variation on that shot, but Federer’s Forehand can go south in a match more often – especially when he plays Nadal. Conversely, Nadal’s Forehand is more consistent. And they both do severe damage – that’s why they have accounted for 22 Majors between them: Their Forehands are far and away the best.


van orten Says:

yeah 22 between them. 16 for federer and 6 for nadal.

how many winners per game does nadal produce with his forehand and how many federer?
in almost every match the reason why nadal wins is his low percentage of unforced errors. almost every player makes more winners against him when it is a close match.
nadal runs down every ball which i believe is more effective for his game than his forehand


blank Says:

Voicemale1,

I am seeing a different Federer since 2008. Except for the often brilliant tennis he plays during the Grand Slams, he’s been pretty ordinary in other places (we can use the same Murray matches to illustrate that). I think now things are just catching up with him in the Grand Slams too, which is bad/sad. However, Fed till 2007 was pretty awesome and almost as error free, if not better, as today’s Nadal.

Btw, what’s your take on tomorrow’s final? I’d love to hear that.


zinaldo Says:

Nadal will win because at the end of the day the man is a pusher and having that left arm can pretty much win points without breaking sweat,also this is rolland garros where his balls at harder to deal even though soderling has show to deal with it better than a lot people apart from del potro and djokovic,he still was beaten badly by rafa in rome.

Nadal on the other hand could lose if soderling doesn’t give him his accustomed 40 to 50 unforced errors because let’s face it,rafa doesn’t hit that many winners and depends a lot on his opponents making mistakes to win most of his matches really so anyone playing him is always more likely to lose given that they have to go for their shots but hope that they don’t miss too much but given the slowness of the court at rolland garros,it is almost impossible to hit that many winners past a fit rafa.

But if there is a player that can do it apart from del potro because of him also not fearing rafa it is soderling as long as he is on and takes his chances when they present themselves,soderling like a lot of people doesn’t feel intimidated by rafa whereas i would say rafa is to an extent which should give a bit more chance but he needs to come out of the blocks very quick as rafa has a tendency to not start matches that strong but soon as he gets going he is almost unstoppable so robin .

I have nothing against rafa but i prefer attacking tennis not someone who gets everything back and waits for his opponents to miss,rafa and murray are so alike but rafa is lucky he decided to play with his left arm as he was getting hammered in his youth and almost gave up to play football which has worked out well for him something that eh even recognizes that without him being left handed he wouldn’t have won more than 2 slams.


van orten Says:

yeah but we shouldn’t make excuses . nadal is left handed so he is left handed. at least he is a real madrid fan ;-)
federer could have won at least 5 more matches against nadal but he didn’t. maybe he would have crushed nadal the same way he did with the guys he played in the us open finals. who knows. for god’s sake nadal loses even with the style zinaldo explains above from time to time. i always give nadal the edge winning the set even when he is down 5:1 0:40
it s crazy . the guy is crazy. but as federer may be in decline right now he is doin still pretty well winning the slams. remember nadal ‘s gonna be 28 too one day…


TennisFan Says:

I understand many people will get upset as soon as I mention this: Well, it’s great NOT to see Federer in the grand slam finals, (as most of us might recall, it hadn’t happened since Australian Open 2008, when Novak Djokovic beat him in the semis). I am not a fan of Federer (or Sampras), (in my opinion) these “maestros / machines” make sports boring, predictable. And at least now there is a chance someone might beat Rafa in the French Open finals.
Anyways, I do like Rafa’s game (mostly because he beats Federer), but since I almost always root for underdogs, I am gonna say Soderling will win in 4 or 5 sets. The only reason I won’t like to see Soderling win, is well…that would mean Mr.Fed will keep the No.1 ranking. Thus, I will be rooting for Rafa (too). I just checked the Weather.com report for Paris, it’s kind of mixed, not totally cloudy or sunny, at 3 pm their time. So I don’t think Robin will get any “unfair” advantage of damp weather condition, (which many people probably including Federer believe was the only reason why he lost to Soderling). I just hope match goes to five sets.

Btw, if Federer is the “greatest / the best” tennis player ever, then how come he lost to Nadal in three consecutive grand slam finals, on three different surfaces! I don’t want to sound like psychologist, but I think Nadal is mentally tougher than Fed. (Yes, I do understand, Nadal being left handed gives him advantage when it comes to ralleys or serve (especially the second serve, which he hits to Fed’s backhand almost 100% of the times)

And I totally agree with “van orten”. I do agree with some of the points made by “Zinaldo”, but definitely Rafa is not a “pusher”, a “pusher” can’t put 5400 rpms on the balls on the forehand, (I think Murray (or Djokovic now a days) is kind of pusher. Yes, Rafa is not aggressive / attacking player, but definitely he is not negative player either.

- TennisFan


ron Says:

” However, you could make the case that Nadal wasn’t 100% right in the mind and body when he lost to Soderling a year ago in Paris nor was he in the best shape during in London.”

Uh, wasn’t Nadal in such bad shape during/after R-G that he skipped London completely?

You have credibility issues here. I know it’s not Roger, but, hey, pay attention!


Mr. Perfect Says:

I think Federer’s forehand of 04-07 was the greatest ever forehand in the history of the game. nadal’s forehand is superior to Roger’s on clay, but overall, Federer’s is just more versatile, effective and lethal.

as for the match, the x-factor and ground strokes should go to soderling. he has the mental edge over rafa and rafa’s top-spin sits up nicely for soderling, while soderling’s shots are like lasers, which dont give rafa enough time to set up his!. this match is on soderling’s racquet. If he brings his best, there is very little rafa can do – like last year. ofcourse rafa can win, if soderling does not play his A-game.

i have always supported attackers over grinders, shooters against defenders and here’s to soda’s GS no.1. Go soda pop. You da man!

And this much is true : Soda’s win over Rafa was no fluke, how much ever rafatards discredit it.


Voicemale1 Says:

Blank:

Regarding tomorrow. In Soderling’s press conference yesterday he said this simple truth when asked about having a win here over Nadal helping him: “Yes it helps, but every match is different”. Absolutely true (look at the difference in his two French Open matches against Federer). Last year, setting the issue of his knees aside, what is clear is Nadal played a lot more tennis going into The French – meaning his individual matches were longer and longer in all of the run-up tournaments. Not so this time. If anything is “different” this time, it will be that Nadal was much more economical within in his matches during all of the run up events to The French Open this time. Combined with knowing what to expect, Soderling is indeed correct to assume this match with Nadal tomorrow will very likely be “different”, at least in how it’s played.

The Soderling game plan is the same as it always is: hit blowtorch shots on every ball. The Serve, Forehand, Backhand and Return will all be struck at maximum velocity. There’s no Plan B for The Sod. His game is an All-or-Nothing proposition. You look like a champ when all your big shots go in; when they don’t, you look like a chump. He looked a champ against Federer; and he oughta thank the Berdych’s mental unraveling to get through yesterday, because his game was looking more chump. His form from the QF to the SF was moving in the wrong direction – downward. Soderling has won but 1 title this year: Rotterdam, a 500 Level event. He’s had FOUR first-match losses this year, and two of those have been on clay!! That he’s been able to blast his way through a clay court Major to the Final with a totally pedestrian 2010 season behind him is the single greatest testimony to the nature of his All or Nothing game: when his “All” game is on, there’s very little anyone against him can do; when it’s not, there’s very little he can do. This year, his “All” game hasn’t been “on” very often.

Nadal, on the other hand, has gone the other way: getting better and better through the season. And doing exactly that through this tournament too. Each match he’s improved more and more. Unlike 2008 when he also came to the Final winning all 18 Sets blowing everyone away, this time he’s played each match as though he was keeping something in reserve. Each time a set got tight, he raised his game just enough to get the job done without having to dig deep, and no more than that. That he’s played 6 Best of 5 Matches and no opponent of his reached the Set Point stage for themselves is remarkable. The Nadal matches have been close on the board, but none of them were ever in danger of slipping away. Sampras was the very best at that: raise his game to the necessary level only when it’s necessary.

It will probably come down to which of them has more to give from their own tanks. For Soderling to win he’s going to have to have one of his “All” days firing flawlessly for 3-plus hours. He does have the backhand to cope with the Nadal Forehand, to be sure. And his key will be keeping points short, and winning 50% or more on the Nadal 2nd Serves. His problem is he hasn’t produced that “All” level very often this year. And that includes the exo in Abu Dhabi these two played this year, where Nadal won in straights on a hard court. The Sod’s last two matches were different – one a great deconstruction of a hapless Federer, and the other a “meh” escape in 3-plus hours and 5 Sets over a gagging Berdych. Nadal looks to me like he’s got more in the tank (and who’d have ever thought THAT??). I think he’s gonna empty out tomorrow – which in a Major is the only time you need to: in the Final. And a Nadal with gas in the tank is more than a match for anyone anywhere anytime. All his politeness in public aside, I think he wants Soderling’s head on a stick. And tomorrow, I think he’ll get it.


Eskay Says:

I hope Rafa does not go the Stosur way against Robin. His fighting spirits when down are well known, but his failure to serve out the match against Jurgen Melzer showed that his confidence is not the same as it used to be prior to R.G 2009. I would like him to win since he is the greater player who can go on to win more G.S in years to come. His potential is yet to be realised. The same perhaps can not be said of Robin. Even if he were to win this year, he is unlikely to start favourite in subsequent tournaments he plays. There will a question mark about his capability to win G.S or or ATP 1000 win, since he is not a sure shot to reach the quarterfinals. If he reaches finals, he can produce a great game on that day to win. On the other hand, Rafa and Roger are not generally upset before Quarters or Semis. I would like a Rafa win, but I am afraid, my wish may not come true.


zola Says:

Voicemale 1

You are fabulous! Statiscally, Rafa should win, but there is always a chance for soderling. I want Rafa to fight and play his best.

That said, there is a 60% chance of rain tomorrow and these two will probably have to endure frequent delays. That is another factor to consider.


zola Says:

Eskay,

Rafa usually starts slow and he may or may not get nervous on match points. But even against Mezler he fought back and won the match. He did not give away a set or the match. It is totally different to Stosur’s situation. Sam was frozen throughout her match. Doubt that could happen to Rafa.


blank Says:

Voicemale1,

Intelligent analysis as usual. Enjoyed it very much and thank you for sharing the thoughts!

Weather, in part, came to the aid of Soderling against Federer. Tomorrow it’s forecast to be cloudy and rainy…so here’s hoping that it’ll give Soda a bit of an advantage and we see a good match as a result.

Last thing I want is something that’s kind of a repeat of 2008 FO finals. That was simply painful to watch.


Daniel Says:

Agreed in the part that Nadal raised his level when needed and closed out the sets, but we have to remember who he was up againts, 2 tiebreaks versus Almagro and one agaisnt Melzer. The competition have to play a factor.
If tomorrow he and Soderling play 3 tiebreaks int he first 3 sets, no way in hell he will win all 3 of them, not with Soda’s serve. He came true agaisnt players who always had mental issues.

And, I also think Nadal had bad days in this tourney too. Against Almagro something was really odd wiht him and he only played great during those two tiebreaks, where you coud see he played like the Nadal we know.

I don’t know, given rain, the pressure of having to win and if Soda is having an A day, he can lose this match. It’s not like the Federer’s match where Fed fans were wanting Fed to win, but deep down everybody knew for the first 3-4 games of the match, how was going to be the outcome.

Tomorrow, a feeling of uncertainty is in the air, and that’s why it is so awesome, specially after the ladies match. Let’s hope for a great match not rain interrupted!


Andrew Miller Says:

No predictions from me! Will sit back and enjoy it.


Daniel Says:

To me the the first set is crucial. If Soda wins ot we have a match if Nadal wins it’s over. Tomorrow for Soderling will plays his most important set for the second time.
Last year Fed came full cilinder and took advantage of Sodas firts Slam final, let’s see how Nadal will open tomorrow.


InvisibleCoolers Says:

Anything can happen in today’s final, Rafa certainly start favorite but it matter nothing once the two take position at the start of the match.

This match could be better than Roger- Rafa FO finals just for the reason Robin’s game matching Rafa’s game.

I still Back Robin to win the RG, I missed my Fav player Del Boy in Roland Garros this year, but Robin made amends for it.

Go Robin Go wish you all the best, and Good Luck Rafa.


Matthew Says:

How is Soderling a hot-headed Swede? The man is pretty much emotionless on court. Good preview otherwise, but that’s quite a stretch, in my view.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ron,

“After” but not “during”


Huh Says:

Rafa has much much more chance of beating Soda here than the other way round. But I can only be super pleased to see Soda winning the FO! :P

C’MON SOD!!!


Huh Says:

May the weather favour Sod!

GO SOD!!!


Huh Says:

If you don’t like Sod, that’s one thing. But why unnecessarily call him hot-headed? Sod’s a reserved man and he’s here to play tennis and so far as he does that, he needn’t worry about others’ perception of him. Others didn’t make him a good player, did they? That said, Sod isn’t that rude or anything either. He’s just enthusiastic sometimes and celebrates, nothing abnormal about it, he’s entitled to do it. BTW, Sod’s not the only guy who celebrates winning a point like crazy or curses at himself or others, all do that, so please spare Sod. Apart from the Nadal incident at WIM 07, Sod’s not lost his cool often, that was an isolated incident. Moreover, what happened between Rafa and Sod is their personal matter, and I left it at that.


margot Says:

Voicemale 1: champ or chump -brilliant! If Sod gets into rallies, he will lose. If his serve and forehand are on song, who knows?


margot Says:

Ah huh! Good morning, expect u r looking foreward to the match as much as I am! And wasn’t the Women’s excellent?!


Kimo Says:

I just wish that Rafa for once try to say the truth at press conferences rather than what’s polite. Everyone know his history with Robin. The world saw how Robin mocked Rafa on Court 1 at Wimbledon in 2007.

It’s a revenge match. Period. And believe me, it will show in the first few games of the match. Rafa will start extremely tight.

My pick? Whoever win the first set wins the match. However, it will not be a straight set victory for either player.

At the start of the tournament we were kinda sad Soderling was in Federer’s half because we he would have to get the to final in order to face Rafa. Well, he did reach the final, beating the no.1 seed along the way, just like he did last year. He won’t be content with a runner up finish today. He knows he can best Rafa in best of five because he’s the only man who’s done it before.

Sod in 4.


guy Says:

in madrid nadal hit a 165km/hr forehand with almost a metre clearance, not even completely flattened. that’s enormous power when he goes for it.


Eskay Says:

Rafa’s shots give more time to the opponent since they come from far behind the baseline covering extra distance, and the length of the trajectory is more since these are top spun. However, the top spin makes returns difficult, especially for shorter players. I hope Rafa is able to create extreme angles so that Robin does not get a comfortable look at his shots. But if Rafa gives short balls, Robin is the winner.


ánima Says:

I think Nadal acts wisely refusing to face up to this match in terms of revenge. If he takes it emotionally, he will probably get nervous or furious. That will mean more mistakes, and Soderling knows that.

Nadal needs cold blood and bright sun.


TennisFan Says:

Oh well, just checked weather.com again and it says there is “light rain” in Paris, that should definitely improve Robin’s chances of (having a chance) to win this Final. Btw, does anyone recall when was the last time French Open men’s final took place under this kind of overcast condition? Usually it’s sunny.
One more thing, I hope ITF will force “hawk eye” system to French Open. When we have such a great technology, then why leave it to the chair umpire’s judgment to observe that spot in the clay? (Yes hawk eye is not perfect either, but definitely it’s better than human eye).


TennisFan Says:

Hey Invisiblecoolers, how about a grand slam final between Del Potro & Soderling. Wouldn’t that be great? Brutal battle!!! (kind of like the one they had in London last year). Even though Del Potro doesn’t hit the ball consistently that hard, his forehands are still brutal. (I remember he hit one forehand winner at 107 mil/hr against Federer in US Open finals, Fed was on the Duece side but couldn’t do anything about it, he didn’t even move).


Huh Says:

Hi Mrs. Margot! :P

Whom’re you rooting for in the final? Yes, I’m really eager for the men’s final to start.

And significantly, as well as luckily, the women’s final was competitive. These days one is never sure of good finals from women’s side (mostly ending in lopsided affairs), but thanks to Schiavone and Stosur, the final was full of action. Though I thought Stosur winning would be kind of cool(her beating Henin & Serena and flogging Jankovic enroute the finals was fabulous to watch!) and rooted for her, I’m glad I’m heartily happy for Schia’s win. A polished performance from Schiavone. Good for her that she played her best ever match in the FO final and didn’t fall prey to nerves, overall she showed that she deserved to be the FO 10 WOMEN’S CHAMPION. The particularly satisfying thing to take from the FO (with re: women), for me is, a 29 year old triumphed! So Old continues to be Gold! :)


TennisFan Says:

One question for all the fans, when will Andy Murray win a grand slam? any guess? When all the “top guns” are playing that grand slam, I don’t think Andy has that much of a chance. I hope he does win it someday, but definitely he gotta have something “lethal” weapon, his forehands, backhands, serves, are more of consistent but not winners. (That is efficient but not effective).


TennisFan Says:

Hey huh, any chance you watched Henin vs. Ivanovic final in 07, I think it was over in less than 60 minutes. Whenever Safina is in the finals of a grand slam, it’s pretty much over in 60 minutes, (of course she loses). But once in a while (for a change) women’s finals are competitive and thankfully that’s been the case for this year’s grandslam.


Huh Says:

One thought before the final starts: I think winning this is more vital for Rafa than for Sod coz if Sod loses, Rafa would gain revenge, ranking, title and reputation back. But if he loses all of this would be gone. Losing twice at RG to Sod would be a massive blow to Rafa, this will really lead the critics to jump up and massacre him. So Rafa is in a real do or die situation today. I also feel though that losing two consecutive finals would mean despair for Sod, but as people expect less from Sod, he can live with that. But a loss would make life FAR WORSE for Nadal. Though a tennis lover would have to rejoice in whoever wins, but still Rafa’s win is more important as he’s given so much to tennis. But life is cruel and don’t expect me to give Rafa a break by not rooting for Sod. I would be selfish enough to support Soderling all the way! But I wanna make it very clear that I merely don’t want Rafa to lose for the sake of Fed maintaing No.1 to break the record of Pete, I simply want Sod to win today as I am more a fan of his style of play than Rafa’s. Hopefully Sod will win today, even though it’s Rafa’s match to lose. Like when DP became the 1st man after Rafa to beat Fed in a slam final, I hope Sod becomes the first man after Fed to beat Rafa in a slam final, now that’d be something incredible, if it happens. Cheers!!!

GO SOD!!!


Huh Says:

“TennisFan Says:
Hey huh, any chance you watched Henin vs. Ivanovic final in 07, I think it was over in less than 60 minutes. Whenever Safina is in the finals of a grand slam, it’s pretty much over in 60 minutes, (of course she loses). But once in a while (for a change) women’s finals are competitive and thankfully that’s been the case for this year’s grandslam.”

Hi! Yeah I remember those awful finals, those ridiculously incompetitive displays by Ana and Safina completely spoiled my mood. I better forget them. :/

But like you said, this year’s final saved WTA from further humiliation and gave me some reason to stop loathing the current state of women’s tennis, at least for the time being. It was even more exciting in a way coz proving most of the fans wrong, Schiavone BEAT Stosur.


margot Says:

Hi huh: Do you know I really don’t mind! I’m just hoping for an excellent competitive match so tennis will be the winner. Having said that I prefer Rafa’s tennis to Sodapop’s. Unlike the boys above, “Brutal battles” don’t do it for me.
BTW of course Andy will win a slam! He’s just regrouping at the mo. Don’t think it’ll be this year though unfortunately, still suffering from a nasty dose of Feditis.


Huh Says:

TennisFan:

Nice to find you also wanting Muzza to win a slam someday. Now I’ve been also waiting since long to see Muzza hold his first slam, hopefully the wait is gonna end this year. And to me one of the reasons Muzza has not won a slam is: he hits a serve, but then doesn’t hit a FH to finish the point soon, if need be. :(
But still I like Muzza very much, he’s my 4th most fave guy after Fed, Rod and DP.


madmax Says:

Tennisfan,

if Federer is the “greatest / the best” tennis player ever, then how come he lost to Nadal in three consecutive grand slam finals, on three different surfaces! – your post –

How about the fact that Fed has reached more grand slam finals than rafa, who has been knocked out before the finals? and 2 of the 3 you talked about were clay, one grass, always close matches between these two, bar the 2008 FO, slam final – it’s never a beat down, always magical to watch.

I think you mean 2 different surfaces, right?


ánima Says:

I think it’s unfair to expect everyone to win a GS before 23, 24, or whatever.

It sounds obvious after yesterday’s match, but Berdych, or Murray can win a GS this year, or next. Precocity is not a must, it’s rather an exception, like Nadal’s.

I do not apply that rule to Soderling. I don’t like the guy, but I really think he is more a bluff than anything. Cañas won twice in a round against Federer some time ago and nobody came along saying he was meant to be nº1. Two finals in a GS is great, but there are several players with that achievement if you look into tennis history, and they didn’t get that hype.


Kimmi Says:

OMG, it is almost time. can soda do it, doubt it but hoping


Kimo Says:

Let’s go Soda!!!!


Daniel Says:

Sunny day!


Naderer Says:

Is it safe to say th@ if Nadal wins the French Open, he’ll be the fav for wimbledon…?


Huh Says:

“Naderer Says:
Is it safe to say th@ if Nadal wins the French Open, he’ll be the fav for wimbledon…?”

Yes.


tfouto Says:

Naderer, i dont think so…

Its sunny, thats nice…


Huh Says:

C’MON SOD!!!

May God bless Sod with the FO 10 title!


madmax Says:

about to start.

tennisfan – FO 2008, Wimby 2008, AO 2009, (clay,grass,hard). – got it.

here we go.


puckbandit Says:

Am I the only one thrilled that Mary Carillo is home at her daughters graduation and unable to pollute the booth with her over-dramatic, hyperbolic commenting?


Huh Says:

I’m so excited! It’s killing me already! My heart’s beating so fast, yet I’m shivering as if having cold/fever!


madmax Says:

haha, punkbandit!

soda serving well. nice, so far. must be so nerve wracking.


Kimo Says:

Naderer says:

“Is it safe to say th@ if Nadal wins the French Open, he’ll be the fav for wimbledon…?”

No, he won’t make it to the semis of Wimbledon.


puckbandit Says:

Looking forward to a good match, not pulling for one or the other much, but would like to see Rafa take back number 1 spot.


blank Says:

Where is the cloud and where is the rain?


blank Says:

I don’t want rain, but just thought those conditions would aid Soda a bit and make it more interesting.


puckbandit Says:

It’s early, but I’d say Rafa won the fashion part of this contest, nice outfit.


aleish17 Says:

Hello Huh!

Chill! Relax! If you die before the match starts, you’ll never see who will win it. Enjoy! Good luck for your Sod and more luck to my fav Rafa.

Vamos Rafa!!!


Kimmi Says:

Wow! keep it up soda..great serving


Daniel Says:

It’ not like Soderling like rainny days, what he likes is clouds. The first game was sunny and he missed a few serves. the last game it has a cloud on court and he puts 4 first serves in. His ball toss is to high, sun makes it harder for him.


Dari Says:

Who saw that rapid spanish from rafa on the interview as the went into the stadium?! Hilarious.
Go robin! You can do it! Let’s get your first major title!


Kimmi Says:

break point early here, c’mon soda


Kimmi Says:

not positioning himself there..c’mon soda..a little nervous or what!


Kimo Says:

Rafa holds, but he’s playing defense early on.


aleish17 Says:

Good hold for Rafa!!!


tfouto Says:

Nadal in 3…


Kimo Says:

Stupid move from Rafa contesting that line call. Now the crowd is definitely against him.


Kimmi Says:

now, break point nadal..mhhhhh


blank Says:

Incredible save of the break point.


Daniel Says:

Nada playing moon balls.


Kimo Says:

Soda is rallying early on. He can do that, but fitness can become an issue if the match drags on. He should try attacking the net more.


Kimmi Says:

nadal definetly better here, soda needs big serve..nadal breaks. this might end early


Kimo Says:

Sod had a play on that volley. Wrong decision to let it go.


Daniel Says:

Soderling, how can you let go a forehand volley?!


blank Says:

Rafa has kicked it up a notch. And Soda is not settled yet.


puckbandit Says:

Anyone watching this on NBC, US feed? I don’t like the camera angle, it’s too distant. Anyone else agree?


Dari Says:

Ok, robin, now YOU break back!


Daniel Says:

Soda needs to return deep, as he did agaisnt Fed.


puckbandit Says:

Rafa showing that he is not only a great physical player, but he’s smart and applies great tactics to his matches.


margot Says:

If I were a Rafa fan I’d be breathing a lot easier. Sod’s gotta go up a notch and Rafa down if Sod’s got a chance in hell.


Janadev Says:

Not many long rallies so far


Daniel Says:

Soda still didn’t find his groove.


madmax Says:

i think this may be anti-climatic.


madmax Says:

robin is unsettled. needs to find his rhythm. and quick.


Kimmi Says:

40-0 to duece, c’mon soda


margot Says:

Puckbandid:lol! Unfortunately for me John LLoyd is alive and well and at Roland Garros. Hoping for a sudden, minor of course, illness for Queens!


tfouto Says:

Nadal is playing really well, and Soderling is somewhat unconfortable.


Sean Randall Says:

Nadal is getting to a lot of balls.


Kimmi Says:

nadal got this match,,definetly


madmax Says:

may be sod loses the first set and saves his energy for the second, it’s important for him that he finds his groove early though – please let us have a gripper!


madmax Says:

stupid shot! wtf! he had the whole of the court to play a forehand!

c’moon!


Kimmi Says:

what a return of those serves from nadal


madmax Says:

fight man, fight!


Daniel Says:

Soda is sure unconfortable! 2 times he didn’t go to the net when he should.


blank Says:

Honestly, as a Fed fan, I am just glad Soda took him out early. Let Nadal and Fed meet in the Wimbledon finals, I am far more confident about that.


Daniel Says:

Great hold!


Dari Says:

Wow, slim hold, soda!


Janadev Says:

Rafa is asking Soderling to hit thru him…


margot Says:

Sod’s hopeless at the net. Just missed an Andy Murray bread and butter shot!


Daniel Says:

Nadal is not missing anything, hard to beat him this way.


Daniel Says:

Again he hitted long on breakpoint.


Kimo Says:

That’s a third time this game that Rafa fails to return one of Soda’s returns.


Von Says:

C’mon Rafa, pop the Soda back tn his Soda can!

Let’s go, chop, chop.


blank Says:

That’s about as many chances as Soda is going to get this set.


Kimmi Says:

these errors on big points are not helping soda..bad bad misses


jane Says:

The key things so far is Nadal has hit 1 more winner than Soda but half as many errors. Rafa is quicker and uses variety and the whole court more too. But Soda’s got great serves and power to rely on. It’s still too early to get a sense of who will win, imo, though Rafa seems to have momentum atm.


Daniel Says:

Nadal is playing smart and Soda is missing some balls he wasn’t missing last year. He is having chances.


Daniel Says:

Bye first set.


jane Says:

margot: read an article last night that said Uncle Tony is trying to model Rafa’s service motion on Murray’s! I think it was Flatman in the Times Online, or Newman in the Independent.

puckbandit: 2-2, wonder who’ll win the Cup?


Gannu Says:

There is no way that nadal is gonna lose this match.. sign federer loses his No 1… really unfortunate… but u cant have them all…


Daniel Says:

Or not. Well this game can sure put Soda back in the set.


Janadev Says:

what a hold from Sod…


Gannu Says:

I wished Federer has beaten Pete sampras record of weeks at No 1..look how cruel destiny is.. he loses by one week.. and the only possible way was that Federe loses before the semi and Nadal wins.. and thats wat is happening..


Kimmi Says:

good for sod to get out of that game..he now needs to take opportunity of his chances.

c’mon robin robin robin crwod is chanting


jane Says:

Don’t forget that Fed won the first set over Soda fairly easily. So who knows what’ll happen. To me, it’s tough to say.


puckbandit Says:

@Margot – I feel your pain re: John Lloyd, he is the male/Brit equivalent of Carillo.


Dari Says:

Ay yay yay! A hold from 0-40. Keep that fight, robin! Clouds comin in, maybe he’ll hit fewer balls out.


Daniel Says:

Nadal’s backhand is rock solid, as always!


puckbandit Says:

This match so far also demonstrates how important healthy knees are to Rafa. His ability to make shots on the defense from seemingly impossible positions to stay in, and sometimes take over points his opponent is controlling, is a major part of his effective play.


Daniel Says:

Best point for Soda the whole match.


Kimmi Says:

great point by soda


tfouto Says:

I guess i am the only Federer fan who wants Nadal to win today…


Kimo Says:

If Soda manages to keep his UEs count a little less, he’ll make this match a lot more competitive.


Kimmi Says:

gets a shot ball and make error, poor soda.

lets hope he is starting to play well. C’mon soda you can do it


Kevin Kane Says:

Anyone buying Mcenroe’s suggestion that, at least on hard courts, Nadal’s backhand might be better than his forehand? The suggestion is based on the idea that though Nadal’s forehand has more spin, it also produces more errors.

As tennis fans, it’s a shame we can only speculate about such questions given the absence of data that could empirically suggest an answer. For instance, I’d like to know how many forehands and backhands rafa has hit, and how many winners, unforced errors, and forced errors have been produced on each side, on each of the different surfaces.


Daniel Says:

This set shows the match can be long. Soda missed a lot, as his last forehand and even so lost 4-6 having 3 breakpoints on 2 serves from Nadal. Nadal also had breakpoints (7) also in two games, but in one game he won it.


puckbandit Says:

@tfouto
I’m on the fence, and I’m not a Federer fan, so I can imagine many Fed fans pulling for Soda.


Janadev Says:

Soderling looking tired…


Kimo Says:

He comes to the net!!! FINALLY!!! About time!!!


margot Says:

Is it my imagination or is Sod playing a bit better? He just needs to loosen up and 4get he’s playing Rafa. Oh how easy for me to say, from the safety of my sofa….


i am it Says:

Rooting for Swedish sword !


Janadev Says:

Rafa feeding short balls to Soderling…


puckbandit Says:

@Kevin
I’m surprised those stats don’t exist somewhere. I would bet the coaches take note of those things.

I think it is a legitimate theory by Mac, because the fast court takes away some of Rafa’s prep time on that stroke and makes it harder to time. It may be more accurate to say the backhand is a steadier and more reliable shot on hard courts, but not necessarily better.

But Rafa has improved his backhand so much that it is as much of a weapon as his forehand. That’s why he doesn’t run around it as much, especially in the early rounds.


puckbandit Says:

wow, can Rafa move!


Gannu Says:

Dont u guys have a feeling that Sos looks tired… Nadal is an animal.. can keep running 10 hrs… and yet will not get tired.. wonder wat he is made of??


margot Says:

jane@10.03. What! What! Is the man mad, at least Rafa’s serve usually goes over the net. Or does Uncle Tone think Rafa has an unfair advantage and wants to help other players????


Kimmi Says:

robin robin robin robin GO GO GO!


Kevin Kane Says:

puckbandit Says:

Anyone watching this on NBC, US feed? I don’t like the camera angle, it’s too distant. Anyone else agree?
***
The camera does feel a little far back, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what the solution is, though. If the camera is panned inward, we’ll be zoomed in to a more intimate look at the action, but the depth of the court might get crowded if we’re that close-up?


jane Says:

Johnny Mac is right; these are very similar conditions to last year when Soda beat Rafa: variable cloudiness and cooler temperatures.


Kimo Says:

Soda’s terrible on BPs today.


madmax Says:

gannu,

dont worry. if rafa wins and takes the no.1, the point difference is negligible. Plus, he will have deserved his place. I dont have a problem with that at all. I think it is more than possible for no.1 and no.2 to change may be once between now and USOpen.

And despite what many of the journalists are saying (once again), that federer is “over”, I tend to ignore that now and just wait patiently for fed to play again and watch him prove them wrong. 285 weeks at no. 1, is still a brilliant result. rafa is what, 46 weeks? and it is going to take a long, long time, for 285 to be surpassed, only fed has that chance in the next couple of months (should he lose the no.1 spot), it’s not set in stone just yet.

Hope this goes to a 5 setter!

Robin is so nervous, I wish he would pretend he is a playing a challenger or something!


Kimmi Says:

aaaaaah…goo to the net soda


jane Says:

What a save by Rafa there.


Kimmi Says:

aaaaaarh..oMG


madmax Says:

Pete sampras is 286 weeks, which is a record which he will pleased to keep, bearing in mind roger equalled his 14 slam record plus added to 2 more, and counting –

the crowd just roared whilst the players were playing – bad – just keep quiet! these are important points!


tfouto Says:

What a point of Nadal… Incredible…


its all abt da game Says:

the game is here!!
the game is on!!
and that’s nadal’s defence guys!!
rock solid!!!!!


Kimmi Says:

nadal plays better on break points..ROBIN ROBIN ROBIN


madmax Says:

they are all shouting “robin!”, “robin!”


Gannu Says:

Thanks madmax for those words… just hope fed somehow breaks that record.. I feel very bad that he misses by one match… really want sod to win… and i am happy that the french crowd wants soda to wins ;-) .. thats so sweet of them..


Kevin Kane Says:

Gannu Says:

Dont u guys have a feeling that Sos looks tired… Nadal is an animal.. can keep running 10 hrs… and yet will not get tired.. wonder wat he is made of??
***
70 percent water?


Kimmi Says:

oh noo


jane Says:

margot, lol. I guess it was in the less reliable Daily Mail, but there is a quote or two from Uncle Toni:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-1284318/Rafael-Nadal-wants-service-like-Andy-Murrays.html?ito=feeds-newsxml


Kimmi Says:

that must be a blow for soda..hope is will not give up..c’moon soda


Daniel Says:

Unbelievable defense from Nadal on that crosscourt backhand, and them Soda had a smash and even so lost the point and now the game. He just can break Nadal, this match is so over after this game. Martk my words Soda is gonna get broken in his next game.


Daniel Says:

can’t


Kevin Kane Says:

Daniel Says:
Mark my words Soda is gonna get broken in his next game.
***
Mark my words: Soda just held at love. Heh heh, just kidding around…


madmax Says:

Gannu,

i know how you feel, honestly I do. But things happen for a reason. Roger’s destiny was last year, the stars were aligned for him – this year it’s going to be a bit more up and down – doesn’t detract from the brilliant player that fed is. It’s only 6 months ago that he was playing “brilliant, the best of his career” at AO, then lung infection scuppered everything – changed the curve, for a while, he still hasn’t done that badly, so look foward to wimbledon.

Rafa has worked hard, come through a lot over the last 11 months – people wrote him off as well – but he came back, despite the majority’s belief.

We’ll get more roger/rafa finals – don’t you worry.

Federer is still the best.

The one thing I have missed (and it brought it back to me in the women’s final yesterday), is the variety of shots – Federer couples that with finesse on court, no one else has that special something – that movement, the shots. It’s all power bashing. It’s boring at times.

Gannu,

I dont think sod looks tired. I think he still trying to work out what to do.


margot Says:

Yes! Sod is playing better. Come on, at least get a set off Rafa.
What an astonishing athlete Rafa is, isn’t he? I really feel, if the old knees hold up, the “Age of Nadal” is upon us.


madmax Says:

umpire had a word with rafa at change over saying he was taking too long between points. Rafa replied, “thank you”.

then commentator joked, you would think that having a new watch, he wouldnt have that problem anymore.

Come on Soderling! Make this a match, damn it!


Kevin Kane Says:

Someone in the stadium audience just passed out. Apparently the victim was heard to say, “If Robin doesn’t convert one of these break points, I’m going to have a heart attack…”


its all abt da game Says:

rafa’s return of love to soderling!!
oh, i mean love hold!!


madmax Says:

negative body language from soderling. this isn’t good.

break point.

boring.


its all abt da game Says:

@kevin,
you gotta be kiding!!
really??????


jane Says:

Kevin, lol. But seriously – hope that person is alright.

Fed also has this problem of converting BPs against Rafa; maybe it has something to do with Nadal? Just saying…


puckbandit Says:

Jane & Margot

Although Murray’s serve went off he rails in the past few months, I had the impression it was because he was making efforts to improve it.

At first blush it does sound funny because of his struggles, though he served better recently, Murray does have a great, easy, fluid service motion. (as opposed to rafa’s which is a bit stiff. maybe that’s what they are after.

When Murray does get his serve in, it is effective.


Kimmi Says:

break..thats it for soda i m afraid


Kimo Says:

Every single break point that soda he lost because of an unforced error. You don’t get many chances against Rafa on clay, so unless he starts changing that, this match is over.


its all abt da game Says:

the break!!
now sodalime in serious trouble!!
but really, nadal is superhuman!!!
and wilander himself (i think so) is saying that sod is playing as well as he can..
its just that nadal is better!!


puckbandit Says:

@Margot, funny line about the watch


puckbandit Says:

Okay, the knees are alright folks!


tfouto Says:

Game over…

As a Federer fan is always sad that Federer looses no1. but Nadal surely deserves… You just have to admire Nadal game. I admire a lot.

I am shure Federer will get is number 1, dont know if this year yet…


Kevin Kane Says:

Nobody hits forehands while back-pedaling on the full-run like Rafa does.

You think you’ve hit the ball behind Nadal, and Rafa just runs back and flicks his wrist for that wispy topspin winner. Crazy. Babolat synthetic strings for the win!


puckbandit Says:

@Jane

As much as it pains me to state this: Flyers in seven.

Truth be told, I’d rather it be Philly than Chicago. Just to drive the hockey press crazy, which picked Chicago in October.


margot Says:

Spoke too soon, am feeling sorry for Sodapop.
Puckbandit: Little margin for error on Andy’s serve. At RG he was getting loads of net cords which put him off still more(!) At one point he asked umpire if it was a machine giving them, or mere mortal.


madmax Says:

soderling, why dont you just get that fire, that magnus talked to you about? Seems you are lcking the passion right now.

Things can change, Robin! Make it happen!

It’s all about da game –

someone did pass out in the crowd, but i think the rest was kevin having a joke – he just let out a cry, before he fell.


jane Says:

I like how NBC is showing Rafa superimposed “everywhere” on the court. His court coverage is remarkable. It does look like he is “emptying the tank” as Voicemale1 predicted yesterday.

Soda needs to think tactically a little more, try to seek alternatives to just going for it, as the errors pile up and hurt him.

Interesting, too, that Rafa has hit 21 winners to Soda’s 23.


puckbandit Says:

So, who do you think Roger is rooting for today?


madmax Says:

i cant believe the commentator just made a comment about rafa’s “bottom scratching” – saying it makes him more intense!


its all abt da game Says:

oh tfouto already has resigned!!
and he is looking forward to the time when fed regains the no.1 ranking..
a harsh reminder brother!!
fed is gonna be 29 now!
and by next year clay court season (when he has the chance to regain points),he will be 29 years 8 months..
if he gets those 2 weeks, amazing achievement..
but he will have to work super hard for that!!


Kimmi Says:

soda definetly rattled


Daniel Says:

The good part is that the clay season is over. Okay, Nadal is superhuman in this surface, his defense are awesome, but I prefer see attacking tennis, I am glad we are in for grass where this kind of balls can’t be hit. The huge question regarding Nadal is that this fans just love theis stye, but I simply gets frustrated by watching it.


Dari Says:

Robins got to do something NOW, this match could be over if he doesn’t go on a run here.
Rafael nadal is astonishing mover.


puckbandit Says:

OUCH


Kimo Says:

Soderling is giving up.


madmax Says:

does anyone know whether soderling has come back from 2 sets to love down to go on and win the next 3 sets?


Kimmi Says:

too many errors soda, c’mon wake up


Maso Says:

What a terrible final… I mean… Nadal’s undoubtedly the better player, but Soderling is just not there today. Terribly disappointing.


Gannu Says:

Guess madmax.. we need to be happy that fed got that one RG which was missing… I guess that’s rog’s destiny…and guess raf also deserves the o 1 becuas ehe won everything possible to get that No 1…..


Daniel Says:

press enter first. What I meant is, either you like defensive play or either you won;’t like Nadal’s game, even though he sure hits balls none esle can hit, on Clay. On hard courts Andy Murray hits similar defensive shots. This style of wearing down oponnets, doens’t appeal to me at all.


madmax Says:

all confidence goes to rafa, soderling is feeling down. Thinking, what’s the point? He has to snap out of this if he is to make this a match!


Daniel Says:

The match ended when Nadal hold that 15-40 game.


margot Says:

Hmm, Rafa got a bit of coaching then a) that’s not right and b) does he really need it?
madmax: match may be boring because all of us here are pretty certain about the outcome, but the quality of the tennis, in the first hour or so, surely was not?


jane Says:

puckbandit and margot: it is precisely the service “motion” that Uncle Tony likes, something to do with the wrist on impact.

puckbandit: my husband and son are for Philly; I am kind of on the fence. I like Toews a lot and it’s been longer for Chicago, so I don’t know.

Rafa’s on a roll. He’s in business mode now. It will be amazing if, after sweeping the clay MS’s events, he wins RG without dropping a set. Wow.


Kevin Kane Says:

I like Soda’s showmanship. We all know he could have easily stormed out of the gates to win this thing in three tidy sets. But he knows that wouldn’t be the most entertaining thing for the fans, that then there wouldn’t be enough commercials run for the sponsors, and moreover, it would be kind of a mean to humiliate Rafa, his best buddy like that.

So instead he is donating the first two sets to Rafa. Very charitable of him, wouldn’t you agree?

Mark my words: Soda wins in 5 sets.


its all abt da game Says:

ok,
i think i should give a stat that makes fedfans happy, atleast for now!!
the last time there was a first time finalists in women’s final, the men’s champ came from two sets down to win the championship!!


madmax Says:

This isn’t a riveting final in my books.


Dari Says:

Ohhhh-kay. Let’s just have some dignity here and get a set off, Soda!


Daniel Says:

See, the vast majority of points Nadal is defneding, the balls are getting shorter and when Soda is trying to finish the points he doesn’t know what to do and miss the court or return a bal so Nada can pass him. There is nobody winning the points.


puckbandit Says:

That was an amazing stat about Rafa. He has only lost 4 sets in four years, three to Soda last year and one to Fed. That is the definition of domination.


tfouto Says:

everything in life must be earned and worked hard for achivement…


its all abt da game Says:

max,
is it because rafa is winning easily??
can’t you acknowledge he is the better guy?
even wilander said sod played well, it is just that rafa is so better!!


TennisFan Says:

punkbandit, I totally agree with you re. Mary Corrilo. In my opinion she doesn’t deserve to do commentary at grand slam finals, she is totally annoying


Daniel Says:

It’s incredible to think Thata Nadal was broken in all his matches to lesser players and Soda, the guy who beat him last year won’t even break his serve once!


madmax Says:

margot,

it just doesn’t inspire me. Partly because federer is not playing (I accept that), but it just seems one sided to me. I just hope, at the very least, robin takes a set, I think that will give him confidence.

Matts Wilander is about to give out the stat on soderling’s five set stats. Who knows Margot? May be we are in for a surprise,

Yes, it was 6 years ago to Schettler and also to Verdasco in the FO 5 years ago –

then at wimby against rafa, it went to 5.

So there is hope.

Sorry margot, just missing a bit of fizz right now.

I hate all this grunting. I do. Keep it quiet, know what I’m saying?
Soderling needs to find his way a bit more. His serve is too wobbly right now and we are 2 sets gone already.


TennisFan Says:

hey madmax, please check-out how many grand slams / finals Fed had at Rafa’s current age?


Kimmi Says:

hitting loooooooooooooooooooooooooong. soda c’mon


Daniel Says:

The match enter in that akward place. And somebody is saying Soda is playing gresat with 41% first serve in the second set with 33 errors so far in a 19 game match so far, yeah right.


Kimmi Says:

another break..pfffff


its all abt da game Says:

tennisfan, when fed was 24 years and 3 days old,
he had 5 slams..


TennisFan Says:

Madmax,usually players start the careers being more agressive, (remember Fed used to serve & volley, Novak used to play fearless against Fed), but they mellow down. but I think for Rafa it will be opposite, and being more aggressive Rafa will definitely prolong his career and will have more grand slams than Fed


puckbandit Says:

@Jane –

As a Devil’s fan I should be pulling for Chicago. I also like Toewes, and I HATE Pronger, but I felt myself (involuntarily) cheering when Philly scored. But it’s a great series.

As much as I love tennis, watching the FO during the SC finals has seemed a bit of a snooze fest in comparison.


Kimo Says:

madmax said:

“This isn’t a riveting final in my books.”

I concur.


tfouto Says:

Soderling on Federer game always checked the marks on the balls out, today none… His mind and determination are totally opposed…


its all abt da game Says:

daniel,
that somebody is mats wilander..
and he was saying specifically of 1st set mate!!


Daniel Says:

If it is to take down Fed at least shows more that this, Fed only gave us one awfull preformance in 08′.


TennisFan Says:

thanks “its all abt da game “, I had guessed that.


Daniel Says:

If Soda doesn’t win this break he could lose 6-1 or 6-0 and Nadal didn’t won so far one set with this score, maybe he saved for the final.


jane Says:

I thought the first set and half featured some great tennis, but Soda has definitely gotten flat since. Nadal serves smartly on break point, often surprises the opponent.


puckbandit Says:

Soda’s thinking about transportation to the airport about now.


Maso Says:

I’m having a hard time expressing how disappointed I am. I really, really thought Soderling would take a set off Nadal today. He’d played a great weak. Shaky in the SF against Berdych, but after the QF against Roger, it wasn’t so far fetched to imagine a tight match. This is just… painful to watch.


its all abt da game Says:

now, i’m wondering!!
Why am I the only Rafa fan around on the biggest day in the year for Rafa fans on a top tennis site??
Can anyone senior here tell me that??
Is tennisx a bad site for Rafans???


Daniel Says:

its all abt da game,

He would only be playing great if he made one of those break points where he was in control of the point and hitted long.


its all abt da game Says:

Proof that he played great in first serve..
the clutch serving that saved those 3 break points..
and you can argue that with Wilander..
he said that!!


Daniel Says:

All rafa fans are just waiting for the final to finish and come here full force to say last year he was injured. You will see, when he is finilly n. 1 again. They are just waint the match to end, to be 100 % sure. You were the olny one with balls who senced Nadal’s was never gonna miss this match after first set and came here before itwas over. Congrats to you.


Janadev Says:

its all abt da game,

you will have your fellow Rafa fans after the match, I believe they are just enjoying the match…


Daniel Says:

One break point he saved with and excelent serve, but the other two he hitted long whie Nadal was in the run. I don’t have to argue with nobody, I saw those.


margot Says:

madmax: I agree with jane, I thought the first set and a half was good but from then I agree with you, just too one sided and the creaking inevitability of it all seems depressing, though not for Rafa fans obviously! But hey, consolation the women’s final was luverlee!


jane Says:

I think J-Mac is right; Soda pop doesn’t have a “plan B” today. Maybe he was thinking, “I’ll just do what I did last year and win” but it didn’t work in set one, and that threw him for a loop? Plus as Daniel correctly pointed out, Soda has just not had a consistent serve to rely on and win him free points. I was sure this match would be closers; there was not much separating these two in set one, but Rafa went up a gear and Soda just fizzed out, no pop.


TennisFan Says:

hey “its all abt da game”, I am anti-Federer fan. So almost Rafa fan


its all abt da game Says:

Daniel,
you are giving a fine example how people lose their grip on their mind, tongue and fingers(in this case) when something that they do not wish for happens..
i’m not offended!! :P


TennisFan Says:

I hope I will see a 5 set FO men’s final, before Rafa retires


Daniel Says:

This is a classic exemple offensive play versus defensive play, today defense won, all merits to Nadal, I think he his best clay match al year. shut down all doors to Soderling and intense form the get go, characteristics of great champions, which he is. The problem is we all felt the match would be more competitive, and this is disapointing.


TennisFan Says:

What you guys think, if Nadal doesn’t get injured (let’s say stays same as Fed), can Fed then ever get his No.1 back?


its all abt da game Says:

oh tennis fan..
i’m certainly not anti-fed fan..
but i’m a rafa fan, especially when clay is on!!


TennisFan Says:

Daniel, not sure if you are American / understand American football. Typically the coaches tell, strong defense wins championships


Janadev Says:

its all abt da game,

spot on..


Daniel Says:

Its all abt da game

I don’t agree with Soda playing great, he was playing good, not great (he made 22 UE agsint 8 from Nadal?!), and the match was competitive, until that second game in second set where he had 15-40. After that, his body expression was defeated.


TennisFan Says:

ok “its all abt da game”. I am kind of Rafa / Novak / Del Potro fan. Usually I root for underdogs (unfortunately that means rooting against Fed), and like to watch any great match.


Maso Says:

Nadal’s definitely the better player and he’s showing it today. I was just hoping for a bit of a tight final, but Soderling’s doing about the same thing this year that he did last year. Pulled an amazing match taking out Nadal in 09 and Federer this year, and then crumbled in the final against a more experienced and competent player. Too bad for the record, Roger! Gonna be tough to take the no. 1 ranking for a while. Congrats to Rafa for playing an exceptional FO again. Well.. the match is not over but I don’t see Robin turning this one around.


margot Says:

daniel: exactly right, we all hoped for a set at least from sod pop, but alas as already said no pop today.


puckbandit Says:

Fed getting number 1 will depend on how he does at Wimby and USO – lots of points to defend while last year Rafa was on the sidelines. For Rafa, whatever he does at Wimby and some of hard court season will be gravy.

Maybe a stat geek can give us a rundown,


TennisFan Says:

I hope the crowd gets into the match, root for Robin


Von Says:

Soderling looks like he’d prefer to be any place but on PC at the moment.

The match only appears to be one-sided because it’s Nadal who has the upper-hand, and is winning at the present time. If it were the other way around, I’m sure the Sod fans would think that it’s a great match and would be loving every moment of the one-sidedness, while being pleased as Cheshire cats.. C’mon Rafa!!


Daniel Says:

But not in tennis, well until Nadal. I believe you never played competitive tennis, which I did as a kid and everybod teachs you how to create winners and keep low UE, but always to rely on you, not the other guy missing.


Janadev Says:

looks like Nadal is just concentrating more on his own service games now… another break is a bonus now…


Janadev Says:

looks like soda is helping nadal to finish this off quickly…


TennisFan Says:

Hey puckbandit, I do understand the ATP point system. As Nadal was absent from lot of tournaments last year, he won’t “lose” points until somewhere in the middle of hardcourt season.
I was more thinking in terms of “Does Fed has anything left in him to beat Nadal.


its all abt da game Says:

daniel, i have to agree after the point you mentioned, his level dropped..
but before that he played his best!!

tennisfan,
call me the game!!
and i’m a novak/rafa/gonzalez/tsonga fan, and during grass season, a bit of a fedfan..
plus i also favour underdogs, if the above mentioned players are not playing..


jane Says:

Wow, I didn’t realize Soda was at 73% first serves in the 3rd set.


Daniel Says:

The meris are to Nadal, who break Soda spirit. But Soda himself is part of the score, and he can play better.


puckbandit Says:

Daniel,

I understand what you’re saying about defense versus offense, but I think stating Rafa wins on defense alone is too simplistic. He uses his offense to create defense. In fact he is a very aggressive player. It’s not like he’s hiting moonballs out there


TennisFan Says:

Jane, “I didn’t realize Soda was at 73% first serves in the 3rd set.” that’s the classic example of difference between efficiency and (not) being effective.


jane Says:

The game, I read that Gonzalez will not be playing Wimbledon due to his knee(s). Too bad. Hope he is better for the end of the year.


TennisFan Says:

hey “its all abt da game”, I never (ever) rooted for Fed. The only time I rooted for Pete Sampras was when he played that 3-match series against Fed, couple years ago.


Daniel Says:

Fed will have a shot at n. 1 again in Shangai, where he didn’t play (and Nadal was runner up) and Paris which he lost in first round. But all this depending how he does in Wimby/Cincy/US Open, where he has 4200 pts, while Nadal has 1080 pts.


TennisFan Says:

puckbandit , I agree with you re. defense / offense & Rafa’s success.


Von Says:

WOW, when Soderling was pounding Rafa last year, we didn’t hear the match was boring, nor all the sour grapes comments that are being made today. sheesh. Give Nadal some credit, puhleeze. He deserves it.


jane Says:

Soda needs to improve his movement/footwork/positioning; if his all out winners aren’t working, then he needs to get to more balls and add a bit of defense. After all, isn’t the key having both defense and offense?


TennisFan Says:

Daniel, mark my words, Fed will never get to No.1 again! Nadal won’t let it happen.


puckbandit Says:

@tennisfan

I didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t understand the ATP system. But I didn’t realize the gist of your question was what was left in Federer’s tank.

I guess my answer is in my reply. I think it will have more to do with the system than Federer’s ability, I think he’s got plenty of game left and desire to win. Moreso with Rafa winning today. (if)


its all abt da game Says:

yup jane,
i know..
and it is sad!!
but other 3 are there, plus fed too!


TennisFan Says:

Well, here we go, Rafa serving for set, match.


Daniel Says:

puckbandit, in the first set actually he was playing moon balls, once he save break points he relax and start playing great defensie and counter attack. But today I didn’t see him hitting those backhand winners from the base line crosscourt as he did the whole toruney. He played more smart to move Soda around and when Soda start missing he took full control.


puckbandit Says:

@Tennisfan

I mirror your sentiments re: Federe and Sampras.

Never liked Sampras when he played, but have come to appreciate him more in hindsight now that he has left the game. Never rooted for Fed, but appreciate his great skills and games. His personality has always rubbed me the wrong way, though. Not sure why.


Daniel Says:

Tennisfan,

Remember that last hardcourt Slam Nadal had to retire due to injuty. Clay arrives and he did history: Clay Slam, it is his time of the year, but be carefull with what you said, nobody knows tomorrow..!


puckbandit Says:

Will Soda being carrying the cup personaly to Rafa also?


Kimo Says:

Congrats to all Rafa fans.


puckbandit Says:

Congrats to Rafa. If he isnt’ t one of the most like-able sport superstars I don’t know who is?


Daniel Says:

Congrats to Nadal!! Back to n. 1, CLAY SLAM and second time not losing a set.

2 more French Opens and he will surpass Borg and became the Clay living legend.

His cry just shows how much pressure he was under.


jane Says:

Congrats to Rafa Nadal, the king of clay! Also a shout out to his fans, enjoy the win!! Well deserved. : )

The stats for Rafa today are great – 16 UEs the whole match, 78% first serves. He’s so relieved and happy. So many tears in the towel. Too good. He saved his best for last.

Commiserations to Soda pop. Two tries here but just not able to break through today. Maybe he can win it next year? I hope this isn’t too discouraging for him.


Maso Says:

Congratulations, Rafa, another FO won without dropping a set. Congrats to Soderling, too, who played an amazing open but once again couldn’t deliver in the final. A bit disappointed for Roger’s record at no. 1, just one week short of Sampras, but hey, that’s tennis, Hope we’ll have a better final at Wimbledon!


TennisFan Says:

finally, Robin has been put out of his misery.
Great win Rafa!


Von Says:

Yahoo, and Mazel Tov to Rafael Nadal, the undisp;ted 2010 Champion of the French Open.

Congrats to Rafael Nadal!! And, to his faithful fans, especially, Ezorra, Mindy, Voicemale1, Rsutherland, and MonteCarlo, et al. What an historic moment!! Enjoy this day!!


ánima Says:

Well, the bluff is over.

Now, looking for grass, we will have an interesting WB. Federer, Nadal, Berdych, Murray are my picks.

I am rooting for a best final next time…

As for the record, I don’t think is that important for Federer. He already has his place in tennis history, no matter what kind of Guinness records they try to link him to…


montecarlo Says:

Nobody beats a fit Nadal. Proved again.


TennisFan Says:

puckbandit, remember that comment from Fed in Aussie Open this year, before the finals “I know Britain hasn’t won a grandslam in something like 150000 years”


its all abt da game Says:

that’s a great win by rafa!!
grand slam no. 7..
but seriously,
i’m interested in what are the reactions of some fed fans here??
they have been so supportive of rafa of late!!


Kimmi Says:

congrats to GS#7 for rafa :)

Better luck next time soda..but great to defend his last year points. no one would have thought he can back that up, especially after his perfomance leading up to RG.


TennisFan Says:

Daniel, no one knows future, but looking at the present we can make a educated guess, in statistical terms “as long as the process is under control, we can estimate the future with some certainty, usually 95% confidence level”. And I am 95% sure, Fed won’t get his No.1 back


Kimmi Says:

oh and congrats to rafa for regaining # 1 ranking.


Duro Says:

The ultimate competitor…


Duro Says:

Kimmi, it’s now or never for us. See you in London.


Dari Says:

Happy for Rafa and Fam! Wow, didn’t see three set win coming :/


C!P! Says:

The King is back – Long Live The King Rafa V


puckbandit Says:

@Tennisfan

Yes I do, and as a Murray fan I could fill a book with his snide remarks about Murray, let alone others. He seems to have less respect for those that have posted wins against him, even though he’s the GOAT. But I risk the bashing of all the Fed lover’s here who can’t seem to separate the game from the man.


margot Says:

Astonishing stats about Rafa, just 4 sets lost in a year on clay! He’s looking a bit um you know um unbeatable at the mo.
jane: problem for Soda-pop is I feel he only has one kind of game, if it’s slightly out of kilter, then he has no other play.
OK let’s play best matches of FO. For me it’s Tsonga v. de Bakker and Andy v. Baggy.


Kevin Kane Says:

You feel sympathetic for Stosur and Soderling. Stosur defeated players that Schiavone probably wouldn’t have, and Soderling eliminated the world number one and defending champion in both 2009 and 2010. Yet both Sam and Robin go home without the title.


jane Says:

Soda pop was a bit giggly in his speech – sweet to see him being upbeat and gracious in defeat. Rafa tries French. Kudos.


Kimmi Says:

Duro my friend..maybe it will be our time in London. lets hope so, coz we are running out of time quickly.

have a good day.


puckbandit Says:

Kevin,

Agreed, sometimes those that clear the field lose out in the end. Look at Murray’s win against Rafa at the French.

That makes DelPo’s USO title even more impressive. Beating Rafa and Feds. Hope he recovers fully from his injuries for a return at the end of the season, or next.


margot Says:

Puckbandit: I SO agree.
tennislover: do remind me of how um, um, um …. difficult….. I find many of Fed’s comments….


puckbandit Says:

oops, should have been Murray’s win at AO had FO on my mind I guess


Huh Says:

DEAR ALEISH:

CONGRATS TO YOUR INCREDIBLE RAFAEL NADAL, THE KING OF CLAY FOR YEARS NOW!
If anyone deserves to carry forward the legacy of the legendary Bjorn Borg, who’s still the ‘All Time King of Clay’, it’s Rafael Nadal, your Rafael Nadal.

To be honest, today he played so well in the 5th and 6th games of the 1st set that for a moment I forgot I was rooting for Sod! Nadal can give such pleasure to even someone rooting for his opponent, like me in this match, such is his aura when on top! It had once happened to me even during the 2nd and 4th sets of WIM O7 final vs My Dearest Fed!!! All this led me to arrive at only one conclusion and that’s:

RAFAEL NADAL IS TOO A TENNIS WIZARD! No matter what anyone says, I want to say:

CONGRATULATIONS TO RAFAEL NADAL!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FRENCH OPEN 2010 CHAMPION!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE HITHERTO SEVEN TIMES GRAND SLAM WINNER!

FELICITACIONES RAFAEL NADAL!

VAMOS RAFA!


jane Says:

I liked those two matches as well margot; thought Fed vs. Soda pop was also exciting, except the stop and start/rain etc, put a, er, damper on things. I think you’re right about Soda; he needs plan A to work. Has to go back to the drawing board and figure out plans B and C for the future.


Von Says:

Zola:I forgot to add you to my 11:38 am post, enjoy. Now open the bubbly.

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2010-06-05/4359.php#comment-144375


Daniel Says:

Anyone knows if Nada will play Queens?!


nadline Says:

Robin, you got lucky last year, you played a below par Rafa, this year, Rafa gave you a master class in tennis.

The king is back on his throne, and order has been restored as he’s also got the No 1 ranking back, because he is easily the ‘bestest’ player on the tour right now.

More things to add to his already recording breaking career – he has won the first clay slam.

VAMOS!


tfouto Says:

Nafal won because he’s better than Soderling. Soderling was not mentally prepared, anxiety ruled
over determination. Watching Nadal playing is impressive.

There’s lot of people saying that Federer wont be no1. again. I have heard this talk before, and i dont buy it. It will not be easy, but 3, 4 years ahead of Federer…


madmax Says:

TennisFan Says:
Daniel, mark my words, Fed will never get to No.1 again! Nadal won’t let it happen.

June 6th, 2010 at 11:27 am

It’s great to see such wonderful positive rafa fans on this forum.

Roge is off by a week.

There is every chance he will regain this before the end of the year. If not, c’est la vie. Roger has to monopolise his opportunities more.

Remember tennisfan, everyone wrote off rafa last year – everyone – (you were probably worried too, but wouldn’t admit to it, I am sure).

Federer loves these challenges plus it is healthy competition.

Rafa deserves to get back to number 1. He has worked hard for it. 11 months with continual losses to top ten players, must have ground him down.

Good luck to rafa for the rest of the season.

Go Federer!

Hello duro, what’s the news on novak recently? Are you happy and healthy my friend?


puckbandit Says:

@Daniel

Jmac said he was scheduled to play on Wednesday,


jane Says:

Rafa said “see you at the US Open” – very interesting. He’s looking for the career slam.


madmax Says:

nadline, why are you still making excuses about rafa? what’s your problem? all of a sudden you want to stir it up again – relax – enjoy rafa’s win, but stop the mud slinging. soderling beat rafa fair and square last year, and continued to lose to robin at the year end finals – so that was no fluke, just a double win for soderling. Just get over it. It’s part of his record, that’s a fact.

and considering you “hate” tennis.x, I am surprised you are here posting -


margot Says:

Daniel: Rafa plays Queens, he’s in Andy’s side.


Daniel Craig Says:

VAMOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSS RAFA!!!


PietjeP Says:

I’m a little bit dissappointed by the match. Great win for Rafa and what an accomplishment. All 3 MS and RG! I liked to see the emotion in him right after the match; it meant the world to him.

Although I was dissappointed, sometimes the scoreline doesn’t tell all. Today it was like that. The first set and a half it was a very close match and a big battle. Soderling created his chances, and more than just one. But he missed them all, not because he got outplayed on the big points, but he just missed himself. His serve also left him today. When he didn’t get the break early in the 2nd set, I knew it was over.

But at the same time, this match proved to me that Rafa is beatable on clay. The big hitters, big servers can blow him off the court if they have the right day. (low UE; high serve %). Other then the Delpos & Soderlings on this world; Rafa is untouchable on clay…

Congrats to all Rafa fans here…


TennisFan Says:

Hey Madmax,
Trust me I never wrote Rafa off. Not sure if you watch NBA finals, before the finals they show mixed video of historical moments. Where the coach says “never underestimate the heart of a champion”. I was sure Rafa would be back.


Daniel Says:

Thanks puckbandit. I don’t know if he will play just to set his feet on grass, or he will play to continue his winning streak: 4 title in a row, 22 matches.

Fed had only himself to blame for losing n.1, if he played better in Rome and Estoril he could still have it. Miami adn IW to me he played great, even losing after match points. But clay was his doom this season.

Now we go for the second part of the season with a batle for n.1 betwenn Rafa adn Fed, possible career Slam for Nadal in US Open, Fed for a 7th wimbledon with a potential Fedal. Murray and Djoko better get their act together soon.

I wonder when Davy will be returning? DelPo only after US Open, maybe.


TennisFan Says:

Btw, most of my friends are Fed fan. I have taken lot of beating about this.


Dari Says:

I wonder how long rafa will play for and how this clay dominance will translate to other surfaces. As a federer fan, I wanted soderling to win- when someone beats your guy, he better beat EVERYONE.
However, rafa’s shots and gets in the first set and a half made my jaw drop. After that, robin had no juice and made for a relatively boring final.
Very happy for rafa though.
I’m QUITE curious about wimb, now!!!!
Oh they put fed on for a second, memories!
Let’s make plenty more, Roger!


TennisFan Says:

Guys, Who do you think will win the Wimbledon?
My pick…well…Rafa


TennisFan Says:

And may be Fed won’t make it to the Wimbledon Finals (first time since 2003)


TennisFan Says:

sorry Dari no offence.


osazone4real Says:

Vamos Rafa
As a hardcore Rafa I am very happy, since rafa won Wimbledon and AO, anything more has being a bonus for me.

The final was a little disappointing even for me as I always love tight matches : well it seems only Fed/Nadal play these great final

Congrats on Nadal on being N0 1, however I never write off fed on getting it back until he drops he his Racket 4 good(he that good)

Today Soderling did not loose the match,(like it is also implied (same is done of theFO final in 2008 by Fed). Nadal beat him square peroid.

I am looking forward to JMDP getting well and hope somehow the other players like Murray and especially Djoker and maybe Gulbis get their game together

For now I will bask in Nadal’s Victory


Huh Says:

“nadline Says:
Robin, you got lucky last year, you played a below par Rafa, this year, Rafa gave you a master class in tennis.”

Whatever dear, Rafa lost last year handsomely to Sod, it was not even a 5-setter, hehe. ;)
You must be so pissed off then, I understand you. And you certainly think Sod played the match of his life today and he was above par, don’t you? ;)

But right now, it’s high time to enjoy your guy’s fabulous win instead of spoiling your mood thinking about last year’s loss. Now c’mon, be happy! And yeah, sweet dreams, and have no nightmares about last year’s loss. :)


TennisFan Says:

hey osazone4real, I am looking forward to JMDP getting well too.


TennisFan Says:

I think JMDP is the “better” version of Soderling


puckbandit Says:

They’re going to re-visit Wimby ’09 on NBC. Probably the most disappointed ever (for me) at a Fed win, I felt so bad for Roddick and wanted it so much for him. Not because I’m a huge Roddick fan, but mostly because Roger had his share and owned Roddick on his way to many trophies.

Wonder if Andy R. can regain his form and make a run this year.


its all abt da game Says:

someone asked about davyboy’s return..
he is playing in halle as no.2 seed


tennismonger Says:

@PietjeP:
“The big hitters, big servers can blow him off the court if they have the right day. (low UE; high serve %)….”

That’s a mighty big “if” @ RG – y’know, as soon as Stosur went down yesterday, I started thinking that maybe it’s just not gonna happen for Soderling tomorrow…

If this year’s edition of RG emphasized anything, it that it’s very, very difficult to get through 7 matches there on brute force alone. Kind of refreshing, really…


puckbandit Says:

@Tennisfan

I think Delpo is similar to Soda in his ability to hit others off the court, but I think Delpo has more variety and the ability to alter his game when needed. So yeah, a better Sod I guess.


TennisFan Says:

puckbandit
I was so afraid that Fed might beat Andy easily or in a heart breaking matter, that I didn’t watch a minute of that final. That’s the only final in last about 5-6 years that I haven’t watched / followed at all. I am sure one day Andy will win one more grand slam, (even though he is really not typical “one slam wonder”, he has to prove that he has what it takes to beat the best. I think he can do it.


osazone4real Says:

TennisFan ,
I totally agree with you I think JMDP is a great player(although I never used to respect him when he was not servinng so well).
But now he serves well and moves incredibly well for his height.

I wish him speedy recovery, same also 4 davydenko as he is extremely underrated


TennisFan Says:

puckbandit,
may be it’s my opinion, but I think JMDP is better at playing “mind games” too, remember how long he took to challenge the call during US Open final. That gave him time to breathe and piss-off Fed.


TennisFan Says:

osazone4real ,
I never used to respect Davydenko that much as he used to lose to top 5 players almost all the time (& those “match-fixing” things). But last years London tournament changed my opinion about him.


puckbandit Says:

@Tennisfan

I felt the same way about that final and only started watching after Andy won the first set. even now it is hard to watch replay knowing how it will end. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a loser more worthy of the win. Maybe, as this telecast reminded me, Andre losing the USO to Pete without losing his serve, but Andre already had his share of success.

Many people talk about the best player to never win a slam. Well I think Andy R. is the best player to only have won one. If only he had worked to round out his game earlier in his career . . .


Huh Says:

MINDY, ANNA, EZORRA, OSAZONE4REAL:

Congrats to you people! What a performance by Rafa! Awesome! 7th slam, that too! without dropping a set!! Enjoy friends, you had to wait for this almost 17/18 months. Today is rightfully yours!

MY HEARTIEST CONGRATUALTIONS AGAIN AND SAY PROUDLY:

VAMOS RAFA!

I very much like Sod and was rooting for him and am not ashamed of his overall performance in this tournament, he too had a great FO barring today’s match, he reached final beating dangerous players like Berdych, Cilic and even Fed, that’s brlliant IMO.

All credit to Rafa for playing so aggressively, so scintillating to watch!


TennisFan Says:

puckbandit
I agree with ur comments on Andy R.
Btw, I think David Nalbandian is the best player ever to not win a grand slam. I mean his best game can beat Rafa / Fed on hard court. Remember those two tournaments in Paris / Madrid, indoors, I mean he demolished Rafa & Fed.


osazone4real Says:

TennisFan
I dont think Davydenko used to loose to top 5, he was beating them on Hardcourt except fed.
Remenber he was no 3 4 a long time, until Djoko took it.
However he was rubbish on grass, clay not so bad as I remenber him loosing to fed in a tight match at French Open


Huh Says:

DEAR MAXI:

Not thathe needs it, but I believe Fed’ll break Pete’e record, so don’t worry.

PROUDLY LET’S SAY:

ALLEZ FEDERER!!! :D

ALLEZ FEDERER!!! :D

ALLEZ FEDERER!!! :D


Dari Says:

“Maybe fed won’t make it to the wimb final” ?!
Made my heart drop.
I think part of the problem I’m having right now is that murray, djok, delpo, soderlng, etc are not CONSISTENTLY challenging rafa or roger, esp in the majors. Sure, that’s what seperates those two in history, but there is a painful side effect I’m feeling.
MY LIFE HINGES ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE TWO PLAYERS! HA!
Roger still has a few years left in him, and if he is not able to win a major or two each year, it would be nice if there were a variety of players taking over. Who wants to see fed’s final years getting beat by a priming nadal?
Don’t worry, I’m not calling fed out for decline now, but when it does go down, I have a preference for how it does!
Still, felicidades, rafa. See you at wimbledon.
Thanks nbc for playing this match!


Jatt Says:

Seriousy I would like to see a fully fit inform Nadal against a fully fit and inform Delpo at the french open finals.. I think if Delpo was in place of soderling, it would have been a different match…Delpo has bigger heart when he is in the finals..He does not care who he is playing.Bad luck with the injury this year..


puckbandit Says:

@Tennisfan,

I didn’t think that Delpo delayed his challenge on purpose, but maybe I’m naive lol – it did piss off Fed though, which I thought was more a channeling of his anger toward not putting Delpo away and finding himself in a struggle.

They say you should be judged not by how you act when things are going well, but how you behave when circumstances are against you. IMHO, Roger does fair well under that measure.


Dory Says:

I am very happy for Nadal finally the count of Slams gets notched by +1 but sad to see RF losing his No.1 ranking just when Sampras’ record would have been broken. Now RF will have to work very hard this season. 2000 points to defend at Wimbledon, 1000 at another Masters 1000, 1200 at the US Open and some more at ATP WTF.


TennisFan Says:

hey osazone4real,
you are right re. Davy but he never looked/played like a true champion, (and yes especially against Fed). But his No.3 or 4 was mostly because of the no. of tournaments he used play. but for his size, pound-for-pound, I think he is definitely a good player, (may Hewitt was better pound-for-pound)


Dory Says:

Nadal’s run from Monte Carlo to Paris is out of this world. 6000 points in the ATP Race!!!!


puckbandit Says:

@Tennisfan,

Yes, Nalbandian had a great run there and showed that when he was playing at his best he could beat anyone. I was disappointed when he didn’t follow that up with a GS breakthrough. I know he’s had some injuries, but I also think he had a problem with conditioning and commitment. Definitely unrealized potential, but not sure if he has been consistent enough to earn that title. (Think Davydenko)


TennisFan Says:

Btw puckbandit,
do u remember that 107 mil/hr FH from JMDP that he hit against Fed in that US Open finals? That was awesome, I mean Fed even didn’t have a chance to move even though he was on the deuce side


its all abt da game Says:

oh I agree that nalbandian is the best to not win a slam..
IMO, ferrer is the 2nd while davy is 3rd..


Jatt Says:

@Dory,

Surely it is out of this world, but i guess it makes it more harder to defend next year !I guess defending is the most harder part just like it is happening to fed this year !


TennisFan Says:

I wanna see Wimbledon final between Rafa & Murray (not sure if they will be on the opposite side of the draw). That will be a totally “grinder” match


TennisFan Says:

Jatt, defending is difficult, but I think Rafa will now reign supreme with his No.1 ranking for a long time.


TennisFan Says:

I think most boring grand slam final wud be between Murray & Djokovic, I remember their Masters finals, they seed awful to watch. almost exactly same playing style. Just awful…


Dari Says:

@tennisfan
It never entered my mind to see a rafa/murray wimby final! I don’t think I would enjoy that match

Its wild to see the switch in style and surface watching wimb 09 final right after RG!
This RG final just didn’t feel like a FINAL…
What am I gonna do when rog is gone for good?!!!


Jatt Says:

Every time I see Nadal, it seems nobody has any answers to his style of play and game..I just wish if somebody would come and be the “kryptonite” to nadal..that would really make things interesting for tennis..otherwise, I guess from now onwards, it will be all Nadal..


puckbandit Says:

TennisFan,

Vaguely, I remember Delpo was hitting huge forehands and they were clocking them I too would love to Murray and Rafa in the finals. Would be nice for Murray to get the monkey off his back, but he’s not exactly playing his best tennis. Maybe that’s a good thing, he may do better with lower expectations.

Will be interesting to see if Gulb & Byrdy can move their big games onto the grass and continue their good play.

Also looking for the US men to do better,


TennisFan Says:

Dari, come on start rooting for Rafa


puckbandit Says:

Dari,

Did you see the semi’s of the Australian Open? Rafa and Murray match was quite entertaining.


Jatt Says:

The fact when Rafa says “see you at US open”..tells us the confidence factor in him..He did not even mention wimbledon which means he knows he already has that in his pocket :)


TennisFan Says:

I think Gulbis really has some serious talent, Berdych too, but unfortunately Berdych reminds me of Nalbandian, and not sure if he will ever fullfill the promise that his talent has.


Huh Says:

TennisFan:

I also feel(like you) somehow that this year Fed may not be able to reach WIM final. Making 8 consecutive WIM finals may be out of the reach of even Fed, but then, only time will tell..


TennisFan Says:

hey Jatt I agree, but I am not sure if Rafa’s comment “see you at US open” was spontaneous or deliberate. I think he might be playing mind-games, especially with Fed. He is saying “I will win the Wimbledon & I will see you at the US Open, I will beat you there. Thus I will beat the greatest-player-ever in all four grand slam finals”


SG Says:

Rafa was really solid today. Sod, not so much. This was my concern. Sod’s game is higher risk. If he’s a little loose with his shots it’s a big problem. His movement wasn’t there and he hit a lot of UE’s.

Rafa on the other hand was rock solid and fully deserving of his one for the thumb. Now he can start working on the other hand. Way to go Rafa…well done. Enjoy the victory and prepare for the grass a Wimbledon. Fed fans watch out…the Mallorcan Minotaur is back!


Dari Says:

@puck
Yes, did see AO semi with nadal/murray.
Insanely fun.
That was just the federer in me speaking, as in rafa +murray equals no rog!
Seriously, though, I am gonna have to diversify in a couple years, can’t be pushed to do it now!


TennisFan Says:

hey Huh, I think chances of Fed reaching the Wimbledon final will depend upon the draw. If he has to play Novak in the semi-final, he will beat him. but I don’t think he can beat Andy Murray in the semi-final. Also Roddick or Soderling might make the things complicated


Huh Says:

BTW, in the frenzy I forgot to congratulate Nadal for notching up the Best Ever Clay Court Season in tennis history by sweeping all the MSs and the FO.


TennisFan Says:

Dari,
I was very unhappy when Murray beat Rafa in that SF, I felt even a half-fit Rafa could have beaten Fed in that final. I think Murray still doesn’t have that “grand slam edge” factor against Fed.


Jatt Says:

Hi Tennis fan..

If you see the statistics for the last 5 years..everytime rafa/roger match has happened..it has been all rafa..even though i am a big Fed fan, but have to admit it has been all rafa winning..so even a us open final between rafa and roger ..99% chance rafa is going to win unless roger seriously starts thinking of “improving” his weak area which rafa is always trying to do..


TennisFan Says:

Huh,
Two more French Open title wins, and Rafa will be “officially” “King of the Clay”


TennisFan Says:

hey Jatt,
I am not sure how Fed can improve his weak area,
(especially that backhand, which makes him run around and hit more FH, causing more errors on FH too.
In 08 FO final, I think he didn’t have even one winner from that back-hand side.
Of course, it’s hard to hit a winner with a one handed BH, when the ball is bouncing to your ear height all the time :)


Jatt Says:

I think if Nadal remains “healthy” for the next 2-3 years and the way he is improving, he is going to break all records including the calendar slam , a huge possibility for him..lets just say wait till next five years and rafa may end up being the best player in the history


Huh Says:

TennisFan:

On the contrary I think that Fed poses the maximum danger to Murray at WIM coz it’d be WIM. But then, I’d be first one to congratualte you if Murray defeats Fed over there coz if that happens, Muzza’d most probably win WIM. Muzza’s has arguably a mental block only against Fed in the slams, he sure can beat others at slams, as he’s proved by beating even Rafa at USO & AO. Can’t wait.


TennisFan Says:

Btw Jatt,
don’t be so hard on yourself re. Rafa vs. Roger.
Rafa has 10-2 lead on clay,
while Fed has 5-4 lead on other surfaces


puckbandit Says:

@Dari,

Oh okay, I understand your comment now.

Watching the replay of Roddick/Federer from last year, if Roger brings his 2009 final form to the tourney, he will be in the finals, and possibly win.

I also agree with tennisfan, Nadal is a hard out for Roger, and Roger is a hard out for Murray (in the finals). Plus, Murray and Djoko need to find their form to survive an early round exit IMHO. If they play to their capabilities, they should all be in the finals.

Also, will Murray drop to 5 for the draw? That could be interesting.


Huh Says:

Fantastic post by SG at 1.03 pm, can’t agree more.


TennisFan Says:

Huh,
I think finally that William Wallace Scottish spirit will lift Murray’s morale and beat Fed and all others in the Wimbledon & make him the “True king of UK”
you not Brit, are u?


The Truth Says:

Well now it’s official, the ’09 Soderling win was fluke.

How do you like dem apples?


Dari Says:

Jatt,
I’m very much interested in your “improvement” comment about federer. That seems positively necessary for roger at this stage.and not just to beat rafa, but for many others as well. He talks about it, but what is he doing to improve?
How do you “practice” or “improve” converting break point chances cause that’s what is holding federer back right now and since like… 2008.
How do you “practice” like you’re only at, say Half a dozen major titles instead of 16 and that you need em!


Jatt Says:

Tennisfan..

I guess every player has always some room to improve..In Nadals own words,if he improves his serve about 5-10% or he improves his backhand, these little things decides the outcomes of the crucial matches..Fed can also improve..may be his movement on the court, his backhand..practice returning high top spins..i always think no matter a player is top ranked, he can always improve and work on small things..


TennisFan Says:

puckbandit I believe, Murray will be 4 for Wimbledon


Huh Says:

For the nice-Rafa fan Jugadore de Tennis:

Hi! Why don’t you post here more often? Why don’t you come here anymore? You’re a nice fellow and I miss u. Just wanna congratulate you Jugadore de Tennis, on the re-arrival of your Matadore de Tennis Rafa Nadal!


TennisFan Says:

Jatt,
I am Mechanical engineer and I always believe in “continuous improvement / Kaizen” philosophy, I agree there always some room to improve.
but I don’t see at this stage of career how Fed can really improve, (without taking a serious brake)


zola Says:

Congratulations to Rafa and all Rafa fans here. A great win. Rafa’s emotional reaction showed how much this win meant to him. A GS title after a very hard year.

Congratulations to Soderling for making it to the final for the second year. I thought he was not moving very well today. Not his day. Regardless, he has great shots and God, I don’t want him on Rafa’s side in wimbledon or any other tournamet.

Great effort by both guys. I am glad Rafa won it and glad there were no rain delays.


Huh Says:

“Rafa was really solid today. Sod, not so much. This was my concern. Sod’s game is higher risk. If he’s a little loose with his shots it’s a big problem. His movement wasn’t there and he hit a lot of UE’s.”

SG:

This is one honest assessment of and objective view on the match from you. You’re fully correct in this regard!


Huh Says:

No TennisFan:

I’m not Brit, I’m Chinese.


tfouto Says:

i cant see Federer loosing to Murray in Wimbledon. I mean look at the two Slams finals that Murray lost against Fed. Wimbledon is Fed favourite surface.


Jatt Says:

Thats true Tennisfan..at this stage of his career, may be if Rog is already “satisfied” with his achievements, he does not need to do any extra thing..but if he wants to win another slam and that too through Nadal..he better be prepared to that “extra” step..


TennisFan Says:

tfouto,
u never know what crowd can do, especially when cheering for their player. I think Brits have to loosen up and start rooting Murray a bit more louder. I think now it’s really personal between Murray & Fed, just like between Rafa & Fed


TennisFan Says:

hey puckbandit, huh, Jatt, Dari, Madmax, jane, Daniel..
It’s been great blogging with you guys, (this is first time I ever blogged), it was lot of fun.
I am on US EST, it’s past lunch time, gotta go outside get something to eat, so it’s time to sign-off.
I hope to hear from you guys again during Wimbledon.
Have a great day,
bfn,
The TennnisFan


margot Says:

tennisFan: I am British and I can’t believe your comments about Andy are serious! Not the way he’s been playing since AO anyway.


tfouto Says:

Murray in Wimbledon is always under an huge pression. I thinking that playing home is more harmfull than good. To much pressure on.


Dari Says:

I’m aware that I’m getting ahead of myself, but I wonder if nadal could beat roger’s majors record.
I think this point of his career is going to determine FOR SURE if he will keep that record.
I can’t think of much he would be willing or able to improve on at this point, but I think that mystical aspect of roger federer would be expanded by his pulling out a few more major titles and another against rafa.


TennisFan Says:

Hey margot, I almost signed-off but just saw your comment. I am serious about those comments. I mean someone has to tell Andy, “Be a man & fight, fight for your country & your pride”, enough about how “low” you feel about that loss in Australia. that’s history, learn from your past / mistakes. As Prez. Obama says, “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work”


Jatt Says:

Dari,

That is a good question, how to improve ? Fed is a great strategist and tactician and that is his biggest strength..but gamewise why don’t i see any thing new in fed’s games as compared to nadal / roddick. Look at roddick, the guy has improved so much since last year.. look at his movement.. he gave such a fright to fed at wimby last year and look at this year hard court results..and kudos to roddick to always go back to drawing board and work and improve on things..I guess you can always “try” !!


tennisfansince76 Says:

“Jatt Says:
I think if Nadal remains “healthy” for the next 2-3 years and the way he is improving, he is going to break all records including the calendar slam , a huge possibility for him..lets just say wait till next five years and rafa may end up being the best player in the history”

Jeeesh. all the Nadal fans are getting carried away!
congrats. your man won on clay. not unexpected as he is the best manb on clay. can he win wimby, the uso. sure. will it be so easy. no. and remember to stay no. 1 he has to grind. he has to play alot of tennis. he has historically never been able to keep up full intensity for the whole year. he has done the easy part. making up lost points at FO. and whatever he does at Wimby will add too. aster that his results were consistently good but not great. alot of semi’s. also draws count for something. my dream draw for Nadal at Wimby would be Karlovic R16, Soderling Q, Roddick or murray SF and Fed final. if he git thru a draw like that I would give him his props. well the asy part is over now it should be interesting.


Jatt Says:

tennisfansince76..

First of all I am not a nadal fan..even today i was rooting all the way for soderling but guess was frustrated seeing him not play well. Today I would have loved to see Fed break sampras records but that did not happen..courtsey Rafael Nadal. My comments about Nadal are after seeing his game and his stats against roger.. His spirit of trying to improve his weakness area.. Last year when he won the Australian open, Roger did not play bad but it was just rafa was too good and that too in grand slam hard court final..


naderer Says:

All Hail King Nadal….
Congratulations to him and all the fans….
Yippeee Fed lost his number one ranking and will be fighting to re-obtain it….This means he will want to win more tourneys, he will participate in more tourney…overall, it’ll be great for tennislovers


madmax Says:

tennisfan,

i think when i read comments from you, when all you bring is doom and gloom to federer’s career, i just cannot take you seriously. you are obviously jealous of what he has achieved. your problem.

Huh,

dear huh. It’s all good.

In one way, this is good news because I think sometimes federer can get complacent with his tennis, it is only when he feels threatened (like now), that he can react and he always reacts in such a positive way, works harder, seems more positive and adds a few new shots to his game to surprise his opponents.

We only have to wait 17 days before wimbledon starts and whilst federer will be seeded no.1 at wimbledon, he will be ranked no.2. He knows that, and he won’t like it for too long.

It’s up to him now to bring it on!

It’s strange how the universe works sometimes. This time last year, rafa was struggling, and though I dont believe federer is struggling this year, I feel he has become a little complacent at times – he needed to play just one more good match to secure his no.1 ranking and surpass samprass, now he has to work for it, like rafa has had to work for it.

But, like I said before, swings and roundabouts. This time next year, rafa will have a load of points to defend and that’s pressure.

Always, always, C’moon Federer!


aleish17 Says:

Hi Huh!

Thanks for congratulating my Rafa! Sorry for Sod though.

I only got to see the first set. I was so tensed that I had to stop watching and turned off my computer. And take note, I was the one who advised you to chill and relax and yet, tension was all over me. I went to my colleague’s house and when I arrived, I turned on the tv and saw the part where they present the award for the winner.

I was just soooooo happy that Rafa pulled it off without dropping a set. I know a lot of tennis fans out there would have wanted a 5 setter. As much as a Rafa fan in me, I want him (Rafa) to finish it off quickly and he did in straights.

Congrats to Sod for a wonderful FO run.

But this is Rafa’s time. All cheers for mah man!!!
Gotta watch the replay. At least this time, I am certain of the outcome. lol


zola Says:

Von,

Thanks a lot. sorry I did not see your message till now.

Yes, a happy day indeed. All the best to you and your man Roddick. This twit from Roddick was so sweet :

@andyroddick: rafa nadal best ever on clay…. period…


Lefty Says:

Zola,

Nice touch from Roddick, although a certain Bjørn Borg might have something to say about that…

Would love to see a Roddick v Nadal Wimbledon final.


Lefty Says:

…I heard a recent interview with Yevgeny Kafelnikov where he stated he thought that Gustavo Kuerten was a better player than Rafael Nadal???


SG Says:

Kafelnikov is wrong.

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