Archive for June, 2010

 

Men’s Final

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

The two finalists walking out on Philippe Chatrier today were two very different men. Robin Soderling had never won a Grand Slam, but he had been in this situation before only last year against the world no. 1 at the time, Roger Federer. The same Roger Federer he had beaten only two rounds ago to get him into the final this year. Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, had been in this situation before. As a five time French Open champion, and having played in too may Grand Slam finals to count, Nadal was at a distinct advantage experience-wise. But that is not to say that the nerves wouldn’t have been fluttering for Nadal too. This was his first time back at the French Open final after a year away, and more importantly the reason he left so early in the tournament was the very man who was standing in the way of regaining a trophy that was most definitely ‘his’. Would Soderling capitalise on his last year’s defeat over Rafa and make himself ‘the one’ (besides from Roger) who is able to beat Rafael Nadal?

The weather didn’t give us the storm that was predicted, with the grey overcast conditions that were supposed to be in Soderling’s favour gaving way to bright sunshine; exactly what the Spaniard would have wanted. When things got going, the word ‘powerful’ was starting to become an understatement with regards to Nadal’s game. Shots, angles and spin that seemed to be a physical possibility were all part of Rafa’s he more »

 

Women’s Final

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Francesca Schiavone took the women’s semi-final 6-4 7-6 (7-2), becoming the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam title, as as well as the second-oldest woman to claim a first major title. At 29, she comes second to 30 year old Ann Jones, who won Wimbledon in 1969. Not many had predicted her to win against Sam Stosur, who with a fantastic run of form throughout the tournament looked set to take the title. She is a powerfulplayer, who had beaten Henin, Williams and Jankovic on her way to the final. It appears that Schiavone was the last person to listen to the doubters.

Stosur admits that she was just outplayed in this final match up, with Schiavone playing the tennis of her life to gain her first Grand Slam title. Stosur and Schiavone had met before and Stosur believed that maybe Schiavone would change things up from her usual aggressive play to try to win the match this time around. However, the Italian came out onto the court in no mood to play around and her attacking game was too much for Stosur to answer. At first, things seemed even with both players taking their games to love. But it was soon into the first set that Stosur’s game began to crack, allowing Schiavone a break at a crucial moment. With a steady nerve, Schiavone closed out the set.

For a while it looked like the tables had turned, with Schiavone facing break points in the second set and making some unenforced errors. But now we can look back in hindsight, we can see it was simply a blip on what was a more »

 

Men’s Semi Final

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

The men’s semi finals were another strange batch of matches. Mostly because although Rafa was there, Roger Federer wasn’t. Although many may have predicted a good tournament for both Nadal and Soderling – the two eventual finalists – the other semi-finalist competitors in the form of Tomas Berdych and Jurgen Melzer were definitely a surprise.

First up on the Philippe Chatrier court was Berdych and Soderling. Although Berdych had shown such form and ability all the way through the tournament, he was playing a man who in two consecutive years had upset both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer; hardly a sloppy run of form for any player. Robin Soderling certainly wanted to capitalise on his Federer win, and his ultimate win against the Czech indicates that this man definitely isn’t a one-match wonder. Still, Berdych wasn’t about to let Soderling trip into the finals easily. The first men’s semi-final in the baking heat of Paris was a five setter, lasting three hours 27 minutes. The similarity between the two players was obvious from the word go, with powerful serves and groundstrokes alike. Soderling took the first break 4-2 due to a few nervous unforced efforts from Berdych, and Soderling calmly took the first set.

The second set was a complete change in play; Soderling’s nerves began to get jittery and he double faulted at the worse possible moment. There were errors on both sides but Berdych hit 27 winners and 27 winners gets you far in a match. The rest of the match was ver more »

 

Women’s Semi Final

Friday, June 4th, 2010

There aren’t many who would have pipped the kind of semi-final and final in either the men’s or women’s game, but in my eyes the women’s tournament is ultimately more engaging in the surprise-factor sense.

For starters; the semi-final of Jelena Jankovic vs. Samantha Stosur lasted a mere 60 minutes, with Stosur beating the Serb in a rather convincing fashion 6-1 6-2. When it comes to the semi-finals, and there is a fourth seed playing someone attempting to get into a grand slam final for the first time in their career, that’s not necessarily how you see the match playing out. Jankovic was steam rollered throughout the whole of the first set, only managing to grab hold of the game in some sense at the beginning of the second.

Unfortunately the 2-0 lead she had over Stosur was obliterated by both poor play from Jankovic and a steady hand from Stosur. Serve became a key issue in the game for both players; Stosur’s simply wasn’t working for her, until suddenly she seemed to feel the pressure of Jankovic breathing down her neck in the second set and managed to kick her serve into gear. With the experience of closing out tense matches, Stosur dominated the end of the match and there was little inkling of a sudden resurgence from Jankovic. One hour later and it was all over; Stosur was through. This all comes after another stunning performance by Stosur in the quarters when she sent Serena Williams flying from the tournament. Williams was lethargic, her game stilted, and was si more »

 

Roger Federer out of the French Open

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

When writing these blogs, I always set aside one or two for things that may come up unexpectedly in the tournament; newsworthy side anecdotes, steamy revelations, thrilling upsets. This time last year I had to squeeze in one about Rafael Nadal being beaten by a certain Robin Soderling, and that was probably the most shocking bit of news I have so far had to write about, up there with Juan Martin del Potro winning at the US Open.

Well what happened only about an hour ago, in my eyes, beats Nadal going out of the French Open early, beats Delpo taking the US title. Roger Federer, the world number one, has been ousted from the tournament in a stunning upset, and who was the orchestrator of his demise? Robin Soderling, again. The phrase ‘pulling a Soderling’ seems offensive now; this man is not just a one-trick player, he has a real mental and physical strength that could outstrip an on-form Federer at a Grand Slam.

Things seemed business as usual at the start of the match, with Federer taking the first set 3-6. But nobody beats Robin Soderling 13 times in a row. It didn’t take long for things to start swinging the Swede’s way. He broke Federer in the second set and took it 6-3, and soon the momentum was picking up and Federer seemed unable to stop it. His serve faltered, and the Swede’s serve only got better and better. Federer handed him a few opportunities with some unenforced errors, and Soderling picked  more »

 
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