Sunday, June 6, 2010


In less than 2 hours from now, the Men's Singles Final match of the second Tennis Grand Slam of the year, the French Open 2010, will commence on the Phillipe Chatrier Court at Roland Garros in Paris between the four-time French Open winner and the King of Clay 2nd seed Spaniard Rafael Nadal and the Federer-conqueror and the only man to have beaten Nadal ever in French Open, the 5th seed Swede Robin Soderling.

Robin Soderling -

Despite the fact that I tend to not like players who beat Nadal, especially on clay, I somehow did not dislike the Swede when he became the first and only player till date to beat Rafa in French Open at the 4th round stage in 2009. Robin had a brilliant 2009, where he eventually finished as the runner up to Davydenko in the World ATP Tours Finals. And it all kick started for him with the big win that he recorded over Nadal at the same Phillipe Chatrier Court last year. With his first win in 13 attempts over Roger Federer at the QF stage this time round... and now his 2nd successive French Open finals... he will be quietly confident of his chances of becoming a new Grand Slam champion, despite the monumental task, called Rafael Nadal, in front of him!

Rafael Nadal -

He's been my favourite player ever since he lost the finals of Wimbledon 2007. For many others, he became the favourite when he won the epic finals of Wimbledon 2008. But at that time, for me, it was just a case of my choice being vindicated.

Rafa did not have a great end to 2009. He was having a dream streak till the end of the 3rd round of French Open 2009. At that moment in time, he was the holder of Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles as well as the World No. 1. Then, he lost to Soderling. Then, his knee tendons gave out. He missed the chance to defend his Wimbledon title. And then he had a trophy drought for many months.

Coming into this year's French Open, he broke that trophy drought with three straight clay titles in ATP Masters tournaments... it included a win over Roger Federer at Madrid... a sweet revenge considering that Federer had beaten Nadal at the Madrid final last year before taking the French Open crown. This year, Rafa is yet to drop a set in the French Open... though he has been in 3 tie-breakers (and won them all, of course)! In fact, Rafa's dominance on clay this year can be judged by the fact that out of the 18 sets he has won at Roland Garros this year, 7 have been by a margin of 6-2, and 4 have been by the margin of 6-3. After the 1st round, his 1st serve percentage never dropped below 70... and his tally of aces has seen a continuous increasing trend.


I expect Robin Soderling to trouble Nadal a bit with his big serves (he has managed some good first serves at 220+ kmph)... but it will be in spurts. Meanwhile, Rafa should go on and about his business of wrapping up his 5th French Open title... his 7th Grand Slam (his first in over a year after the Australian Open 2009)! Rafa is unbeaten on clay in 2010... and a win against the Swede will give this Spaniard a redemption... after what happened in the 4th round match at Phillipe Chatrier in 2009. Vamos, Rafa!


greyblazer said...

Great victory for Rafa. Just like a true champion he raised his game and his retrieving skills were excellent as he made Sod. to play the extra ball which resulted in unforced errors.

Unknown said...

Hi GB,

In a way, Rafa forced those Unforced Errors out of the Swede... It was truly a spectacular performance...