Federer Falls, Abu Dhabi Tennis Day Two
by Ben Pronin | January 1st, 2010, 12:46 pm

Capitala World Tennis Championship: Well, well, well, looks like I’m 2-for-2 in predictions in 2010. Robin Soderling will be facing Rafael Nadal for the title after Soderling beat Roger Federer and Nadal beat David Ferrer. Perhaps surprising to your casual fan but I fully expected this result. ADHEREL

Ferrer’s best days are behind him. He may have scored a good win over Nikolay Davydenko but having to beat Nadal is still no easy task. The big difference is that if Davydenko is not at his best, you can beat him even if you miss. That’s not the case with an off, on, half off, half on, or flickering Nadal. So Nadal will be facing one of his most dreadful foes and this is probably the best match he could have hoped for so early in the season. It’s not going to determine much in the long run but it will be nice to see where Nadal really is at the start of this 2010 season.

Soderling beat Federer 6-2 in the third. Was this another final set collapse? Since it was an exhibition, no. No matter what people say, Federer does not fight anywhere near the death to win exo’s the way he fights in real tournaments. But this is a great start for Soderling who’s already showing his 2009 was no fluke and he’s going to continue playing great. This could also be advantageous to Federer because even though I said Soderling would beat him next time they played, this could very well be the only time. Federer literally dissected Andy Roddick in the first ATP match they played after losing the Kooyong final back in ’07.

All in all, nice to see some good matches from the get-go and I’m sticking with Soderling beating Nadal for the 2010 Capitala World Tennis Championship.

You Might Like:
Rafael Nadal Sets Return To Tennis At… Abu Dhabi?
Wawrinka, Raonic Withdraw From The Abu Dhabi Exo; Nadal, Djokovic Still Entered
Serena Williams To Play Exo At Abu Dhabi Next Week
Knee Issues? Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Abu Dhabi, Still Entered In Brisbane
Stomach Virus Forces Rafael Nadal Out Of Abu Dhabi

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

38 Comments for Federer Falls, Abu Dhabi Tennis Day Two

Fot Says:

I rather Soderling beat Roger in an Exhibition than on the regular tour so – I’m cool. I never really take Roger seriously anytime I see him playing in his ‘watch’. That’s the key to us fans that he’s in ‘exhibition mode’. lol!

huh Says:

I don’t know FoT whether you’d have said the same thing w.r.t. Fed’s loss in the Abu Dhabi if it came vs Rafa. I wouldn’t have. And so far as the scoreline goes, I m sure Fed was not as casual vs Soderling as you might think, that’s how I feel. Of course you’ve the right to view today’s match from your perspective. That’s cool!

Lovey Says:

‘Federer literally dissected Andy Roddick in the first ATP match they played after losing the Kooyong final back in ‘06.’

But the federer of ’06 is long gone. The federer who was dissecting top players like nobody’s business (ask hewitt) is long gone. I agree that fed did not play his best especially in the final set but it is an important win for Soderling. Soderling confidence will grow when they meet again, so is Davydenko. The days of federer winning when not playing his best are over. He needs to turn up on the get go. But all in all, a very good prep for all players.

I hope Soderling goes all the way tomorrow. Go Sod go.

Gordo Says:

Good guesses… er, predictions, Ben. You have avoided the “Sean Randall reverse curse.” And I think you may be right on tomorrow’s final, but you know both Nad and Sod are going to go all out to win it, as it would do either of them a world of good for his confidence.

Having watched the Fed-Sod match I agree with Ben when he says “Federer does not fight anywhere near the death to win exo’s the way he fights in real tournaments.” Once he was down a break he served and volleyed every chance he got. It really became people paying to watch a practice match.

These exhibition matches are rarely remembered, and because it will not get added as an official match Federer still maintains a perfect record against Soderling. I’m sure Soderling will remember it however!

jane Says:

Ben, when you made that prediction on the other thread, I thought it was a good one. I knew it wasn’t a guess since a lot of us here who were watching the USO match last fall felt that Soderling had a good chance. Anyhow, we’ll have to wait and see –as you and Gordo point out — if this can happen in a match for points. If anything, it might’ve at least shored up Sod’s belief that he can beat Fed. He’s certainly getting closer in his matches against all the top guys, as we’ve seen throughout 2009, and now to begin 2010.

jane Says:

Oh yes, and Ben I totally agree that this is an ideal match for Rafa to start the year with. It’s against an important foe, but it is not for points. So he can play him, study the style of Sod or whatever, and even if he loses he will be getting more used to what he’s up against in Soderling. Nadal used to have troubles with Blake, Berdych and Tsonga as we all know, but he turned that around. It’ll be interesting to see how Rafa bounces back against some of his other competitors this year. Should be a fun season for us all.

madmax Says:

Hi Jane, happy new year to you –

Huh! here is an article for you on fed:

ABU DHABI // The world No 1 Roger Federer, having lost in the semi-finals for a second consecutive year, says while the Capitala World Tennis Championship is excellent preparation for the long season ahead, he would question plans for it to bid for a place on the ATP Tour.

The Swiss, who lost to Scotsman Andy Murray at the same stage at the inaugural tournament last year, was defeated by Robin Soderling 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex yesterday.

Federer will now meet David Ferrer in the battle for third place this afternoon in a match he believes will benefit his game ahead of this month’s Australian Open.

“For me, it is not easy to start a season against such a good player,” said Federer. “Last year, bang: Murray. This year, bang: Soderling. Both matches have been close, but losing is down to a lack of match play and it is all about getting into the rhythm, trying out a few things, making a few wrong decisions, especially on a quick court like this one.

“But it was good practice and with a crowd it is just so much more fun to play and you can build up momentum.

“You go for a lot more crazy shots than you would in practice and sometimes maybe get a little carried away.”

One such “crazy shot” came in the fourth game of the third set. With Soderling having just broken the Swiss, Federer unsuccessfully attempted to replicate his through-the-legs strike that he pulled off to such great effect at the US Open in September.

“It’s a lot of fun playing to this crowd, they seem very knowledgeable and it is not far from the place where I spend three months of the year [Dubai]. I am very happy to get a second chance to play in front of them – even though it’s not the final.”

I have no doubts in my mind that fed will step it up, come to the slams – he sees these exhibitions as practise sessions for himself, a tune up to try out new shots – huh! did you see the variety of shots he played in third set? dont be disheartened, enjoy federer for the great player that he is.

And yes Jane, you are right. Players are closer. The game is evolving – for everyone – even federer said he wants his game to evolve, to try out new shots, that his love for the game is stronger than ever, his motivation is stronger than ever – He played a very good match today. I’m happy. Would have liked him to have won, of course. But good news for soderling as he goes into the final tomorrow – he must be feeling like rockerfella right now!

Catherine Says:

Can’t believe it to see people read so much in this match. Yes, Federer’s best days are clearly behind him, but may I remind everyone that this was an EXHO match??? Feds played mostly to entertain the crowd with his S/V play. He was even wearing his watch – clear token of him not taking the situation seriously at all. Said after the match that he ‘enjoyed himself’.
Söderling’s mindset is of course different, it being his first exho – he’s out to make his mark as many seem to still underrate the guy a lot, stating that his RG victory against Rafa was a ‘fluke’. Mind you, it was not, and he might well be out to prove it… again.

jane Says:

Hey madmax – Happy New Year!! I did see that family photo of the Fed family at the ATP site. Very cute wee ones. : ) The parents also looked very relaxed and happy.

sheila Says:

when was this match on tv. i have tennis channel & they didn’t show it. it seems 2me that roger would go into 2010 knowing he no longer has 2break any records, other than his own, and that he would play really solid, aggressive tennis. i would think the pressure would be off him and more on nadal, djokovic, murray, delpo, solderling, but then again, roger has the pressure of maintaining #1 ranking & most of what i’ve read, everyone is predicting either murray or delpotro as #1 by end of this year. australian open will be very interesting indeed.

Fot Says:

Even though this was an exho, I think actually losing to Sodering may help Roger the next time they play each other. It’s always hard hearing that “he’s never beaten Roger before”….and Roger having to keep that ‘perfect’ record in tact. Now he can forget about that and maybe just take Soderling more ‘seriously’ next time. (not that he didn’t take him seriously…but when you’ve never lost against someone you keep thinking that the odds are against you to keep up that streak).

Anyway, I’m going to put my money on Roger the next time he and Robin meet.

Martin A. Hingis Says:

“Federer literally dissected Andy Roddick […].” So Federer cut open Roddick and examined his organs? That’s what dissect literally means. Delete “literally” and your opinion won’t sound so stupid. But it will still sound pretty stupid because you’re just not very insightful.

blah Says:

or it might help soderling’s confidence. He would do even better if he dislikes roger like he dislikes nadal.

madmax Says:


Federer always plays with his watch on? At least in many of the tournos he plays in. Part of the sponsorship deal with rolex.

Like you said, this was just an exho and at the end of the match he said “I had fun”. This is the only time he has (with doha (250 points on offer here) and pos. kooyong)prior to the AO, he can afford to try out new stuff and see where his game is at. There was a marked difference in his play in the third set – a marked difference – like I said before, playing serve and volley after a second serve, he NEVER does that, only on FIRST SERVE. So good for roger for trying something new.

Exhos have no status, no points and doesnt form part of h2h, but it would have made sod feel better. His coach would have been happier!

I think sod will be a strong contender for next year and he will go into the final today, being psyched up after “beating” federer and wanting to continue his run with rafa.

steve Says:

I’ve noticed that in most of Federer’s matches with Soderling, he only breaks Soderling’s serve a few times, and almost always has to play a tiebreaker. But it doesn’t matter because Federer can hold serve against Soderling.

On the other hand, when Nadal and Soderling play, Nadal repeatedly breaks Soderling’s serve. Yet in their last few meetings, Soderling always manages to break back and squeak out the match.

That’s ultimately the difference; at the end of the day, Nadal just gives Soderling a few more chances on his serve.

Soderling will go into this match determined to beat Nadal once again, and Nadal will no doubt be equally determined to prove his recent losses are a fluke. I pick Soderling, because those losses aren’t a fluke.

Tall power players who can hit with consistent accuracy cause Nadal huge trouble. His topspin is ineffective against them.

Nadal loves consistent pace, he wants every point to be played exactly the same way and at the same speed. The heart of his strategy is to wear down his opponents mentally by trapping them in endless monotonous rallies, until they get tired physically and/or mentally and start making errors.

The problem for him is, guys like Del Potro and Soderling also love consistent pace and long rallies. And shot for shot they can outhit him. Unless he can start mixing it up like Federer or Murray, he’ll simply be blown off the court. And that’s very difficult to do if you don’t have the kind of natural anticipation and touch that those players have; otherwise, you’ll make a lot of errors.

jane Says:

Well, so far Rafa is winning, but it’s very tight. Nadal seems to be stepping into the court, at times anyhow, to finish off points. He’s not “trapping [Sodering] in endless monotonous rallies” from what I can see. Both of these guys are trying to end the points quickly. Rafa, however, is standing much too far behind the baseline at times as well, especially on Sod’s service games, and it’s that court positioning, imo, that gives Soderling an advantage. Nadal doesn’t take away any time from them when he is that far back. Murray can sometimes do the same thing, laspe into defensive mode. Rafa can draw Sod in with the slice, which seems to work sometimes as it upsets Sod’s rhythm from the back. You never know though as Sod can also do well at net. About Rafa’s serve: it’s true that it’s not necessarily a weapon (though not really a vulnerability either as it’s pretty consistent) but some credit to Soderling, as he has definitely become a better returner. I am inclined to think Rafa will win this but it’s a tough call. Rafa’s return game is just better; if he can hold, he has the advantage. And so far he’s holding. Out of the top five players, Rafa’s return for last season were the best, I think, with Fed’s the lowest. Fed’s serve stats were the highest. So I guess these strengths just feed into/work against opponents in different ways.

jane Says:

Should read “Rafa’s return *stats were the best”. Rafa broke, but it looks like Sod will break right back. Still a very tight match this one.

jane Says:

steve says “Nadal loves consistent pace, he wants every point to be played exactly the same way and at the same speed. ”

I am not sure this is really the case?? Certainly Fed doesn’t play every point in the same way, with consistent pace, yet Nadal manages to beat him and has a great record against him. I believe Rafa has a winning record over Murray, too, and Andy always mixes it up.

“Tall power players who can hit with consistent accuracy cause Nadal huge trouble.”

But Soderling cannot always “hit with consistent accuracy”, so I don’t think Rafa will, as you say, “simply be blown off the court.” Rather, it’s more like you said initially: “Soderling always manages to break back and squeak out the match.”

If Sod wins this match, it’ll be by a small margin, much like his win over Fed yesterday, and not by him “blowing” Rafa off the court.

jane Says:

This is a very well contested match so far; it’s nice to see Soderling smiling occasionally. I think Rafa seems more stressed and/or intense overall. Anyhow, seem to be watching alone, lol, so will stop posting now. May the best man win — both are playing well!

Ezorra Says:

Congrats to all Nadal fans!!! Vamos Rafa!

Rick Says:

Jane, I know that you dislike Nadal. But you always put on his hypocrite act. And pretend that you are being fair with him. Soderling is really an overated player. He didn’t beat Nadal, he was just taking advantage off Nadal’s bad days. So was Davydenko. I don’t find them really challenge to Nadal. But Del Porto or Djokovic could be a real challenge for him. As for Fed Allstop, everyone are beating him nowadays. I don’t remember him winning anything special since Wimbledon last year. He gotta praised Soderling for beating him. Because it would makes him look good to had beaten Soderling easily at the French.

Polo Says:

The Australian Open should be an interesting event and may chronicle who should dominate this year. The usual suspects, namely the top 4, are still expected to do well, with the addition of del Potro. Federer can win but I would put Nadal over him at this point. Roger just does not play as well as he did in the past…been that way in the past 2 years. I don’t expect him to win but I will be happy to be surprised. A victory by Nadal will not surprise me or del Potro. Murray’s will. I don’t feel too good about Djokovic…can’t explain why.

madmax Says:

Rick says:

As for Fed Allstop, everyone are beating him nowadays. I don’t remember him winning anything special since Wimbledon last year.

Yeah. Right rick. Let’s see.

Fed reaches his 22nd consecutive grand slam semi final.Federer gets to the final of the USO, AFTER wimbledon, wins davis cup along with swiss team in September, gets to the final in Basel, PRIOR to wimby, wins FO, PRIOR to wimby, reaches final of AO, after AO, wins cincinnati masters and madrid – yeah. Federer has had a really crap year and let’s face it, since wimby – he has pretty much put up his feet. Great analogy rick.

And, Jane is actually NOT a hypocrite. She does like rafa, in fact, I find her one of THE most respectful posters on this here thread, unlike some,Rick. She doesnt have to bring players down, she is very objective, enjoys the matches of rafa, novak and murray –

Did you actually watch the FO this year Rick? When fed, in the fourth round could have gone out against Haas? 2 sets down? or could have gone out against delpo, 2 sets to 1 down. Fine to dislike the guy, but try to be a bit more factual rather than not really understanding what a genius of the game federer is. Sorry rick. But that is how you have come across.

Kimmi Says:

Hello everyone! Happy New Year. Just got back home from a short vacation and…well well well..Vamos Rafa indeed. A good start for Rafa so far and beating Soderling on the way, must be satisfying to him and his fans.

But what happened to the Federer? Hope he plays better in Doha. He needs to. The draw looks trickier for Federer than Rafa I think but its OK because tough draws makes better preparation. Looking forward to more tennis in days to come.

With Clijsters and Henin return, I am also looking forward to some WTA matches.

Lets hope for some great tennis in 2010.

huh Says:

“Rick Says:
Jane, I know that you dislike Nadal. But you always put on his hypocrite act. And pretend that you are being fair with him. Soderling is really an overated player. He didn’t beat Nadal, he was just taking advantage off Nadal’s bad days. So was Davydenko. I don’t find them really challenge to Nadal. But Del Porto or Djokovic could be a real challenge for him. As for Fed Allstop, everyone are beating him nowadays. I don’t remember him winning anything special since Wimbledon last year. He gotta praised Soderling for beating him. Because it would makes him look good to had beaten Soderling easily at the French.”


Sorry to burst your bubble, but the only hypocrite so far seems to be you. You always praise Rafa more than he deserves and bash Fed more than he should be. And I remember u callin yourself as a Murray fan while it’s obvious by now that u r nothing except a Rafa fan. I have hardly seen you talk anything good or informative about Murray, neither praising him nor assesing his playing level, tactics, or constructively criticising him. Murray’s an amazing player and there is so much to discuss about him and his opponents! But you never mention anything on that. Rather whenever and whatever you spout here, it concerns only your Rafa darling, not to mention the continuous insults hurled at and false accusations being brought against Fed living in a delusional world. Now this is hypocrisy, typical only of a Rafa’s boot-licker like you. And further by falsely claiming yourself to be a Murray fan, you have also very cleverly escaped criticism of Rafa from Fed fans, bur sadly you have lied by that, thus proving yourself to be a liar along with hypocrite. You enjoyed it while it lasted. But today u are exposed and beware of any further unjustified Fed-bashing or you’d be made aware of the dark side of Nadal. Why don’t you take your head out of Rafa’s @$$ and try to see the truth and realise that nobody has infallible nature including your Nadal? Everybody makes mistake and Nadal is no exception. The sooner you realise it, the better for you. Otherwise get ready to face the consequences!

To further remind you, the only thing that Jane has done re: Rafa is to praise him, yes praise him. Jane has always stood by Rafa in his good as well as bad times and it’s pretty obvious to everybody here that she likes Rafa way more than ‘The Federer’. It’s worth mentioning that the biggest of Rafa fans like Ezorra and other hardcore Rafa-fans like Zola , mem even have not alleged Mrs.Jane being a hypocrite w.r.t. Rafa. How can you do that then?

And by the way why does it matter to you as to who likes whom? I guess it’s coz u r the member of Rafa Nadal brainwashing club, there are sick people like you who has joined this club trying to infect others by the Nadal Bug Syndrome, but rest assured, it ain’t gonna effect anyone here except the Rafaworshippers! But anyway, keep trying to expose yourself. Enjoy the nasty ride up the Only-Nadal fancy land, but you’d again come crashing down if you already have not!

huh Says:


Soderling finished your Nadal at French Open last year. Anything more u wanna hear?

huh Says:

After all, I used to be so much pissed off for NadalAllstop being unjustifiedly praised for beating someone like FedAllstop(as Rick calls Federer) who was and is, as Rick rightfully observed, losing to almost anyone, particularly since 2007 end. But now I’m glad to know that Rafa deserved much lesser credit for stopping the AllStop Guy Roger Federer, confirmed by Rick’s admission here. At least someone things like me! ;) Anything to say about this Rick(Nonstop)? ;)

huh Says:

Congrats to Ezorra and other Nadal fans, by the way, for their guy’s victory over Soderling!

huh Says:

I’ve gotta remind RickNonstop that NadalAllStop has pocketed $ 250000 by beating useless SoderlingAllStop.Lucky guy Nadal, no? ;)

I m doing this as I’m really glad that finally someone as objective as Rick, who’s by the way a Nadal fan, has finally made the truth known to all that useless Fed is nothing but the AllStop Guy, who has been playing crap these days and yet pocketed many victories and it took another AllStop Guy like Nadal(another garbage guy) to show FedAllStop his true place. These two all-stop guys deserve a pretty lowly place in tennis, I finally knew that I was correct for thinking Fed & Nadal as the garbage stuff, thanks to RickNonStop! ;)

Ben Pronin Says:

Gordo, no one ever goes out and gives it their all in an exho, final or not. They’ll push themselves, but not to the brink.

My final prediction was wrong :(

Kimmi Says:

Murray says:

“What I did before, going to Doha in the first week of the year, you play every match at night and it is cold,” he told the Hopman Cup tournament programme.

“I was coming back from Miami and going to Scotland for a few days over Christmas.

“That meant I was spending three or four weeks training in the heat, coming back to Scotland where it’s cold, going to Doha where’s it’s cold and then go to Australia and have five days to get used to the heat again.

“I think this way will work much better.”


Now that I read his reasons for missing Doha in which he did very well last year..I am glad he is making changes to his previous prepataion that did not work very well for him. Hope this new schedule gives him better prep for the AO. Go Murray!

jane Says:

Rick, are you kidding!?? Nadal has ALWAYS been a player that I like. Go back to my posts from 2007, for example, where I was one of the few people on this blog who defended and supported Rafa. Nadal is a fantastic player. So whatever dude. I am no hypocrite.

jane Says:

Kimmi, happy new year to you, and thanks for posting that information on Murray. I think it’s good when players change things up; it shows they are willing to do what they think will work. I hope the AO is competitive – am so looking forward to more tennis. Very much enjoyed the Rafa/Sod match this morning. And congrats to Rafa!

I’ll echo huh (thanks for your kind words above huh) and say congrats to Ezorra, mem, zola, and all Rafa fans.That was a nice win for him with which to begin the season! I saw his mom and girlfriend there rooting him on. : )

huh Says:

Nadal was writing in his blog last year that Soderling’s a really dangerous player and he needs to be careful while facing him, even if it was at Roland Garros, probably trying to give us an impression that beating him would be a tough ask, no matter what and Sod can’t be taken lightly. It clearly means Nadal was trying to make everybody believe that beating Soderling was a tough thing, despite some very knowledgable ones like RickNonStop knowing that Sod’s a pretty ordinary player. I didn’t know Rafa can go to the extent of lieing to create an impression of him always doing heroic things by first praising and then beating so-called good players like Soderling, my bad. Rafa was probably thinking that saying such lies and useless stuff and then beating Soderling, he woudl get much credit, though he wouldn’t have deserved that even if he beat Soderling. But it was probabaly only justice that Soderling outclassed him in the 4th round. NadalAllStop was rightly made to bite the dust for lieing to us about Soderling and his mediocrity. I mean how dare the hypocrite NadalAllStop think that we are so fool as to believe him when he was trying to glorify Soderling, by the way hoping that a win over the so-called dangerous, but really mediocre victory would give him accolades? NadalAllStop was rightfully screwed and lost to the ordinary Soderling, haha!

On the other hand, his so-called talented and great rival, garbage guy FedAllStop won the FO, and being a hypocrite that he’s, he started praising Soderling like crazy with foolish fans thinking that Fed’s victory was impressive indeed! I didn’t like it one bit as didn’t my great friend RickNonStop. Being the objective fellas that we are, despite I being Fedfan & him being Rafa’s, how could we tolerate our guys get more credit than is due to them?! We clearly knew that’d be injustice. We are fair-minded people and we can’t tolerate injustice.;)

NadalAllStop had to see all the accolades, most of which he was perhaps hoping for himself, being strewn on FedAllStop, his main rival! Now this is the perfect punishment for NadalAllStop! Justice is there after all! Ain’t it Rick? ;)

Of course, needless to say that both FedAllStop and NadalAllStop would pay dearly for their lies and hypocrisy for praisin an undeserving guy like Soderling ! I can’t wait to see both paying for their wrongs! ;)

Kimmi Says:

Hi jane, I agree on what you say about “players changing up things”. Djokovic and Delpo are doing the same too. It shows their determination.

madmax Says:

Morning everyone, though it’s afternoon where you are!

Huh! forget about Rick – I said more or less the same that you said in my earlier post – ignore his comments – out to cause trouble.

Stay focused and put your energies into writing insightful posts about the players, like you always do, dont sink to another level, it doesnt suit you Huh.

Morning Jane, yes rest assured, we know what a lovely poster and a fair, insightful poster you are – xxx

huh Says:

Hi Maxi! :) Though we must ignore jerks like Rick, they mustn’t be allowed to go totally unchecked either.

madmax Says:

stay focused huh! The AO needs all fans – remember roger likes fair play and that is the way to be in sport! It’s great to see you by the way!

Top story: Nadal Gets Revenge On Zverev At Rome Masters; Djokovic In Trouble v Tsitsipas