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K.I.S.S. Revised 06/01/2010 - 3:07 PM

101323336(3)

by Pete Bodo

Let's alter the source of that KISS acronym to, Keep it Simple, Soderling. Because that's what Robin did at Roland Garros today, dethroning defending champion Roger Federer and halting the reigning no. 1's other-worldly streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances. 

Soderling accomplished what, oh, some 110 previous opponents have not been able to do at all those other majors (16 of them eventually won by Federer), but Juan Martin del Potro was able to accomplish in a match that had no bearing on Federer's semifinal streak because it occurred in a final (at the U.S. Open last September; don't for a moment think Soderling wasn't watching). Soderling took the game to Federer and overpowered him with a deadly combination of raw power tennis and a willingness to put unrelenting pressure on Federer's backhand.

The winner-to-error ratio was significant. Soderling rained down 49 winners, nine more than Federer, and more than the top seed in every set but the first. Soderling also hit a yeoman's share of unforced errors (42, to Federer's 27), but that's the nature of go-for-broke tennis; you can smack three ugly errors to go down 0-40, but if you win the game, who cares?

In that regard, the forced error stats may speak most eloquently for Soderling's effort: Federer made nine more forced errors (48), which tells you what kind of pressure he was under. Added up (if my math is correct) that amounts to 124 points that were decided by Soderling winners, errors he forced, and gifts from Federer. That's 30-plus games worth of points (on the admittedly shaky assumption that four points equal a game).

But this was a slightly more textured form of simple than it might appear, for straight-ahead power players usually play on their own terms, and hit the ball any danged place they please. Soderlings innate recognition of, and respect for, Federer's forehand convinced him that discretion is the better - but not the only  - part of valor. In this match, he played with equal measures of both, synthesizing a lot of Rafael Nadal (pressure the backhand) and Del Potro, or even a guy like Fernando Gonzalez: take huge cuts, burn the lines, hold nothing back and hope it all works out okay. In other words, Keep it Simple, Stup - er, Soderling.

At the outset, It appeared that Federer would meet this challenge as he has met so many similar ones. He won the first set comfortably, but lost his momentum and promptly lost the first three games of the second; the damage was done, and it was enough to put the wind at Soderling's back. He made his early break stand up as the men held to serve out another 6-3 set.

Soderling made his key break of the match in the eleventh game of the third set, for 6-5. He was shaky, serving that next game, but he never lost his nerve. He served out the set following what appeared to be an egregious error by umpire Stefan Fransson. Federer hit a forehand that appeared to be out on set point, but Fransson checked what might have been the wrong mark and refused to overrule.

Federer never got his racket on the replay ball, a heavy ace.

By then, the off-and-on drizzle was adding to the complications. The men left the court once (in the third set) for an extended rain delay, but spent part of the third and almost all of the fourth looking up at the skies, glaring at the tournament referee, consulting the umpire to talk about - what else? - the weather. . .

At one point, early in the fourth set, they rested in their chairs on court for a spell while the umbrellas sprouted throughout the stadium. Each man sat like a spent prize-fighter, red towel draped over his shoulders, under an umbrella. It was certainly a distraction that posed greater problems for Soderling, as it always does for the underdog who must fear fear that his momentum is broken. And Soderling is enough of a veteran to know that you allow the champ to hit the re-set button at your peril. There's a world of difference between "any given day" and "any given two consecutive days."

Play on, the umpire said.

The most telling moment appeared to be the third game of the fourth set, with Federer up a break at 2-0. He played a dismal game, falling behind 0-40. For a moment, he remembered who he is, and saved a break point with a service winner. But he made a forehand error on the next point to allow Soderling to even the set, and from that point on Federer was the one struggling to stay in the match.

The main difference, in the big picture, was that Soderling reached out aggressively to take the match, and he did that from start to finish. Meanwhile, Federer did a fair impersonation of Hamlet, his game fading in and out like the signal from a distant radio. More and more, it looks as if Federer is not really playing to win, the way a Soderling is in these upward arcing days of his career.

It seems that Federer is playing not to lose. He's doing a fair job of that, hanging in, fending off, snarling and snapping like a captive wolf in a cage. But Federer doesn't seem to seek the freedom represented by victory, or triumph over his captors and adversaries. He doesn't appear to want to attack, break through, run like the wind and distance himself from his tormentors.

The question, going into this event, was whether Federer would muster the focus, hunger, and determination that seems to have been in remission since he won the Australian Open. Did he have a stock game for most tournaments and a custom one for majors?

Unfortunately for Federer, Soderling was the most dangerous of opponents to entrust with those questions. He asked them all, and we all saw the answers.

The press conferences are just coming up; I think I'll wait until tomorrow to assess it all.


510
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Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 09:16 PM

Kim If you have brought your computer down to Sydney I am trying to ring you on your mobile and no luck as yet ok.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 09:18 PM

Adicecream lol! hey surprises do happen

Posted by CTCT 06/01/2010 at 09:20 PM

If Soderling gets thru Berdych (not a given - they play similar power games, very flat and fast hitting), and Nadal gets past Almagro (Almagro is capable of opening up both sides of the court); the sheer power of Sod or Berdych hitting through and neutralizing Rafa's spin is more than likely.
I'm hoping Rafa wins but think that he is in danger.

Posted by Walimoh 06/01/2010 at 09:20 PM

You guys wake up and stop listening to these so called sports writers experts. Federer beat himself, Nadal will NOT.

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 09:22 PM

Sod's friend - congrats btw!!!!! - Well, one thing Fed could have done was play more like he did in the first set...making better use of the fore court and disrupting Rockin' Robin's rhythm. After Roger got broken in the opening game of the second set he suddenly seemed to decide he should try and outhit Robin. BAAAAAAD decision. lol. After that, Robin just outplayed Fed. And you are quite right that Robin was 'in the zone' for much of the last 3 sets. Not much Fed could have done. TMF, maybe. But he didn't show up much today. :-)

All the best...hope Robin goes all the way!

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 09:22 PM

thanks annie vamos and c1.

i was thinking rafa was ranked #3 during usopen2009, no? i thought djokovic overtook him after he dropped the points from losing in 4th round rg2009 and not being able to defend wimby2009.

regardless, it's be nice for soderling to accomplish it here.

rafa's playing very well, but i think my man has the psychological edge, and once he gets into his groove like he did today, rafa'll have no chance.

bring on sod-rafa.

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 09:24 PM

lady julia - thanks for that on the Fed streak. Very nice.

Posted by daniel 06/01/2010 at 09:25 PM

match reminded me of the US open final. federer misses the chance to get the crucial 2 set lead. after which his crazy big hitting opponent starts red lining. and its impossible to beat big hitters when they red line

Posted by Frances 06/01/2010 at 09:26 PM

AM

hi im watching the replay.. my impressions ..soderling hitting the ball very hard... federer is making way too many unexpected errors..

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 09:26 PM

Don't know if this got lost in Typepad limbo, but want to make sure Sod's friend gets well deserved congrats!

Sod's friend - congrats btw!!!!! - Well, one thing Fed could have done was play more like he did in the first set...making better use of the fore court and disrupting Rockin' Robin's rhythm. After Roger got broken in the opening game of the second set he suddenly seemed to decide he should try and outhit Robin. BAAAAAAD decision. lol. After that, Robin just outplayed Fed. And you are quite right that Robin was 'in the zone' for much of the last 3 sets. Not much Fed could have done. TMF, maybe. But he didn't show up much today. :-)

All the best...hope Robin goes all the way!

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/01/2010 at 09:29 PM

Fed took over two hours after the match before appearing in the interview room. I'm guessing the loss of the SF streak and not defending his lone FO title may have hit him like a ton of bricks in the locker room. If so, good that he had some privacy to deal with it rather than having a microphone shoved in his hand to address 15,000 fans.

On another note, I give Nico a shot at a set, but that's about it, though I'll give the guy this: he's having a fine CC season, appears more fit than in the past, and might be playing the best tennis of his career. Can't see him making much of a dent at Wimby, but he could be interesting to watch come USO HC season.

Melzer/Djoker? Buckle your seatbelts, Nole fans. The rollercoaster continues.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/01/2010 at 09:29 PM

I am hoping for a Rafa and Robin final as well with lots of fireworks and RR coming out on top in the RNI tournament.

Posted by Ryota 06/01/2010 at 09:30 PM

Why is everyone assuming that Soderling will be playing Nadal?

First, isn't Nadal going to have to win against Almagro and Djokovic/Melzer before he reaches that stage? While that seems easy on paper, it's a different matter on court. Djokovic is lying low and at least against Kei N., he looked very good/sharp to me. The Nadal-Bellucci match exposed a lot of holes in Nadal's game at this late stage in the tournament. Almagro has given Nadal fits before - the most recent was at the USO.

Second, Soderling has to get past Berdych. The latter is playing clean, first strike, no frills power tennis.

Posted by crazyone 06/01/2010 at 09:31 PM

sod's friend, I think you're right about Rafa not being #2, I think Murray was seeded #2 for the USO. That said, Delpo still did it...and

Taking out Rafa again in the FO would be massive. I'd love to see it.

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 09:36 PM

Ryota - well as far as Robin is concerned, he too is playing "clean, first strike, no frills tennis." And I think that mentally, right now, Robin is much stronger than TByrd.

OTH, I give Almagro zero chance against Rafa. He had to red-line his game to won ONE set in Madrid on a court that suits his game much better than RG. As for the Djoker...he has the game, but right now it seems like not the heart or the head to challenge anyone as tough as Rafa. He may not even get past Melzer.

Ergo - Rafa vs. Robin in the finals...and who knows from there?

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 09:40 PM

"After Roger got broken in the opening game of the second set he suddenly seemed to decide he should try and outhit Robin. BAAAAAAD decision."

thanks for the compliments. and i'm glad you mentioned also that there was little he could do. tmf, maybe, but i think he's been gone prolly since 2007.

i certainly want to see a rafa-sod sunday, to put an exclamation point to le sod's "greatness." he would certainly not win 16 slams, but his place in the record books would be unique, tangled as it is between the goat and his chief protagonist.

i love it!

Posted by Ryota 06/01/2010 at 09:43 PM

Wasn't it just yesterday everyone was saying it's going to be a Federer-Nadal final and that Soderling had absolutely no chance against Federer because of the 0-12 H2H?

Soderling-Nadal final is a long way from now given the quality of the opponents those two have yet to play against to reach that stage.

Paris is so dreary and gloomy - and there are half-filled courts. I'm not used to it. This weather is usually something that happens in London. Is this payback for the rain-free Wimbledon last year?

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/01/2010 at 09:45 PM

Gotta love sod'sfriend's happiness. Cool to see a fan of a specific FOOP so rewarded. Good luck the rest of the way to you and your guy. He was mad impressive today, and his on-court interview afterward exhibited nothing but class.

Lady J -- thanks for the article on the Streak. I especially liked this part in terms of context:

"Could Federer's record ever be broken? Let's put it this way: As of 3:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday afternoon, Rafael Nadal's current Grand Slam semifinal streak is zero. The only two men on the ATP Tour with active streaks are Soderling and Tomas Berdych (the other man who won a Tuesday quarterfinal). Both their streaks are at one. The old saying is "never say never," but I feel quite comfortable in saying that this mark is never going to be surpassed."

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 09:45 PM

sod's friend - oh, TMF isn't gone..not completely gone anyway...like the Norwegian Blue Parrot from the Monty Python sketch..".'e's just resting. The Norwegian Blue, (TMF) often takes his kip on his back, etc...." ;-) Anyway, TMF under the bridge as far as this tournament is concerned. Do you know anything about Robin's leg/knee injury? A couple of people thought they saw him limping; and JMac mentioned something about it in the first set. But it all seems kinda vague.

TByrd/Robin could be a quite good match if they are both hitting the ball well. I will be pulling for Robin.

Posted by Maurício 06/01/2010 at 09:47 PM

Man, this guy really can write about tennis! Excellent post!

Posted by Frances 06/01/2010 at 09:48 PM

man federer really played awful the last set

reminds me of 5th set in AO 09 with nadal

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 09:52 PM

Ryota - actually, just for veracity's sake, very few people were saying that. Many posters thought the H2H gave Fed a real edge, but they also acknowledged that a) the last time they played, at the USO, it was VERY close, and b.) lately, Fed has been coughing up victories to many who have poor H2Hs against him. So there was a certain amount of realistic nervousness among Fed fans and realistic hope among Robin fans. And, voila!

Yes, RG has been gloomy, weather-wise so far, and tennis-wise for Fed fans so far...to say nothing of Gulbis fans!!! but the forecast is better for the rest of the week. So be of good cheer.

Posted by Maurício 06/01/2010 at 09:52 PM

Don't want Nadal x Soderling at the final. I'd like to see Djokovic x Soderling.

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 09:53 PM

@CL
thanks again.
and i have no doubt that fedal will continue to have success. breaking their hegemony on slams and big tourneys would boost the sport of tennis even more. soon, up and comers would be enboldened (they already are) to take them down, and to strive for the top, thus making events even more dicier, and in my view more interesting. more democracy, eh?

@crazyone
pray with me for a sod-nadal sunday, then!

i bet it could break the fed-roddick wimby2009 final tv-viewership record (or maybe only come close since an american is not playing).

Posted by Ryota 06/01/2010 at 09:58 PM

I need to get some shut eye. I need to process what just happened today.

Nadal-Soderling will just be a repeat of last year's drubbing and I don't want to see it. I have seen Nadal play 3 times now and I've yet to be impressed. Something's missing.

Posted by Frances 06/01/2010 at 09:59 PM

and sod is really hitting the ball hard..

ok its a good thing that i watched the replay!!!! im less worried.. its was one of those days..

congrats to federer's 23 SF streak.. i dont think anyone can beat that... it shows how CONSITENT he is as a player in the GRAND scheme of things..

i like sod's attitude of insistent to keep his focus and not to celebrate too much... he knows he has a long way to go.. who knows .. there is a possibility that he could have an off day and berdych just have one of those days

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 10:00 PM

Fed "coughing up victories" NOW it all becomes clear!!!!!!!!!!! Fed suffers from hair balls!!!! LOL...

All that great hair ends up in his porridge and pretty soon, GAG, up come the victories...

Sod's friend...well every hegemony comes a cropper sooner or later...and if Robin....or anyone else not named Nadal...wins it will be only the third time since 2007 (?) that there has been a GS winner NOT named Federer or Nadal. And that could indeed give a boost to the sport. The Fedal rivalry has been great and tv ratings rise when the play each other, but, like Fed's streak itself, perhaps the time has come. Though, in fairness, we may have to wait a while to see if Rafa...and even Roger..have gotten the memo.

The grass awaits.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/01/2010 at 10:01 PM

I don't think people here are assuming there is going to be a Sod/nadal final but we're kind of hoping for one. It's the most compelling matchup considering last year and all that but as AM and others said, anything can happen in the next few days. And I understand they are calling for rain all day tomorrow. Which will prove tough for the bottom half guys. harumpf! rain rain go away..

Posted by crazyone 06/01/2010 at 10:06 PM

sod's friend: I'm definitely rooting for Soderling to make the final :) I like him and even supported him in his previous matches even though I thought he would be a tougher out for Fed than say, Cilic... And I think Nadal-Soderling would be the tastiest matchup, though it might be nice to see Almagro get his due.

Posted by Jasmine 06/01/2010 at 10:09 PM

Soderling-Nadal would be compelling but in the give me an ulcer way. Am I the only one who sometimes can't even watch when your favorite player is playing someone who has dealt them a bad defeat?

Posted by Frances 06/01/2010 at 10:10 PM

@ Annie

OMG seriously sometimes i feel like nadal is plauged with all this bad omen.. bet you he cant sleep ryt now..

oh weather gods be good to rafa tomorrow please please

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 10:10 PM

CL,
robin's ankle/knees is a mystery to even us his fan - he says as little as possible about it (and the media doesn't care because he's not fedal). he also developed an arm problem, so all those early pre-roland garros losses were a blessing in disguise (or maybe he hadn't fully healed up). his girlfriend jenni's blog is in swedish and i can't read a thing! maybe samantha elin can shed light on it if she's interested (she should be, robin is scandinavian - haha!)
http://www.gototennisblog.com/2009/11/13/robin-soderlings-girlfriend-jenni-mostrom/

and, yes, flashes of the might fed were seen at ao2010, but he makes very rare appearances nowadays - haha.

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 10:18 PM

@actionflunky,
thanks! foops are people too - lol! we deserve some love, even if fleeting.

@crazyone,
almagro will trouble nadal a little, that's for sure. but as grant has said, in the end, rafa will force him to go get his "shinebox" to do homage - lol! almagro is chief of the spanish minions, didn't you know?!

yesterday, after his victory over fellow minion verdasco to determine who gets sacrificed on the rafa altar, he was asked about his date with rafa and, if i'm not mistaken, he dared his master! yes, he said something to the effect of "bring him on!" so expect a serious beatdown from rafa to "put him in his place," so to speak. can't wait to see that "battle!" roflmao.

Posted by koala 06/01/2010 at 10:20 PM

the other record that soderling stopped (number of weeks at no.1) may be very very very crucial.

while it is not a consecutive streak at No.1 required, this loss may mean the very likelihood of Fed not exceeding Sampras' record at all.

assuming nadal wins thru the FO and overtake to become no.1, he will just get even further ahead of Fed in terms of the ranking as the year proceeds, since nadal was not playing the most of the later part of last year and also there is Fed's Wimbeldon points to defend.

barring any recurrence of nadal's injury, Fed may find it extremely difficult to put together another streak of results to get back to no.1 and especially when he does not seem to do well outside slams.

Posted by Geellis 06/01/2010 at 10:20 PM

@sod's friend
Although I am a HUGE NADAL FAN, I cannot disagree that Nadal will have his hands full if he were to meet Soderling on Sunday. Personally, I'm hoping that Berdych takes care of Soderling for me. He probably possesses more of the weapons suited for the task. Barring that, I'm hoping for the weather gods to grant a sunny day so that more of Sod's balls fly out. Barring both of these, I'm preparing a soothing tonic to ease my nerves and depression in the likely event of Nadal's loss. It's not that I don't believe in my guy. It's just I know what it takes to beat either Nadal or Federer and it's the same thing, controlled power. If Soderling can marshall the kind of controlled power he showed against Federer today (perhaps a big if but, since he was in the final last year, I tend to think not), I don't see why Soderling cannot do to Nadal what Delpo and Davydenko have done to him on HCs, robbing him of time and hit through him. So this Nadal fan will, on Thur, be a HUGE BERDYCH fan cause I believe Berdych will be susceptible to the pressure of a GS final in a way Soderling will not.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/01/2010 at 10:20 PM

Jasmine, oh for sure, I'm a wreck when my fave is playing. Unless it's a ridiculous beatdown. I have a system where I record the match and while it's on live i'm usually IMing with a couple of rafa fans and talking and frazzling during the match. I end up missing a good portion of it and then I watch it uninterrupted later. Unless he loses.

Posted by CL/TMF 16 & Counting 06/01/2010 at 10:21 PM

Sod's friend - "robin's ankle/knees is a mystery to even us his fan - he says as little as possible about it "

good for him. :-) And as I said way earlier, even if there IS any problem, it may just give him the impetus to go all out early in the point which seems to be the best and most profitable style of play for him anyway.

That's it for me..g-night all. I must go and adjust the GPS on my Traitor Seeking IC(Canadian)BM with the Puppy Vomit Nose Cone and Pocket Calculator at No Extra Cost!

Posted by Account Deleted 06/01/2010 at 10:25 PM


“xx . . .other-worldly streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances.
Soderling accomplished what, oh, some 110 previous opponents have not been able to do at all those other majors . . .xxxxx”

This is a sweeping statement Pete. And most of the time if not always sweeping statements hide the truth. The 23 consecutive, it must be remembered, started after the then 18-year old rafa beat Fed at Roland Garroz in the semis in 2005 when Fed was already #1. A sentence or two on this point would have provided a clearer, fairer context. Without this context, it would easily appear that Rafa was among those 110 incompetents that your article suggests, which is not exactly the case.

Posted by Geellis 06/01/2010 at 10:28 PM

@sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!)
Let's be serious. Soderling is NOT going to challenge Rafa, let alone TMF, any time soon in a historical sense. Just ain't gonna happen. Although he's backed up his win over Nadal last year, he's still got to prove that he's not the guy who won just one game v. Nadal in Rome last year. What Sod fans have to accept is that his game is somewhat high-risk. Namely it's red-lined. I don't think he has to red-line to beat Nadal/Federer; I'm just not sure he knows this. We'll see whether those 230 Km/hr serves go in against Berdych.

Posted by leigh 06/01/2010 at 10:38 PM

The players Robin has lost to this year on clay:

Olivier Rochus (Nice tournament)
Nicolas Almagro (Madrid)
Stan Wawrinka (Rome)
Fernando Verdasco (Barcelona)
Looks like we'll have sun and drier conditions on Friday. Would love to see Berdych come through.


Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 10:40 PM

@Geellis, lol!

you are a very smart (wo)man. strategic thinking has its place, especially for players with established records and personas and fandoms.

the opposite of what helps your cause seems to be what helps a foop. beating the top guns gives us instant fame and credibility. so we relish it, and jump at the opportunity.

if sod-nadal happens on sunday, while you'll be downing glass after glass of your "special-blend soothing tonic," i'll be on a sugar high, leaping up and down my hdtv, and blogging my excitement as the match progresses!

you know i'm not trying to cause you a heart-attack, right? just trying to have a conversation, and at this time let me offer my condolences to all fed fans - i don't think i've done that after the match today. forgive me.

fed is one-of-a-kind tennis player, that is why our beating him on such a grand stage is such a _blessing_ to us. and i'm sure the fed himself understands this.

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 10:44 PM

g-night CL! don't let the geek-stuff bite ;-)!

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 10:47 PM

@geellis,

like i've said, soderling would never be a fedal - no crazy # of slams, etc. his place in history is what he's carving before our very eyes since rg2009!

and that's my attraction to him - a giant/bully killer! he gives hope to the fearful - haha!

Posted by leigh 06/01/2010 at 10:48 PM

Courtside reaction from Robin Soderling June 01, 2010
Robin Soderling, speaking to Cedric Pioline for local television after upsetting Roger Federer:
"I really love to play on this court.
"I played better and better every match and today I play really, really well.
"It cannot be much better [to beat Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in back-to-back years]. It's great to play on this court, it's a beautiful stadium, and to play No. 1 on this court, it cannot be better.

I''m thinking Robin and Berdych will be on Suzanne Lenglen Court on Friday. OR do you think they will play this match on Phillippe Chatrier. I'm hearing the two courts play very differently.

Posted by Pspace (Vamos Rafa and Ajde Glitter Queen!) 06/01/2010 at 10:52 PM

"""
After Roger got broken in the opening game of the second set he suddenly seemed to decide he should try and outhit Robin. BAAAAAAD decision. lol.
"""

True. But, you can't play junk when you get behind. It all works when you're in front. The main advantage with junk when the other guy is behind and it's say 30-30, you put a slice, he has some doubts about what to do. If he's a break up, he knows that he's gotta hit it. Big difference. All the slices that Federer tried after he got behind were landing back in his bh corner with interest.

Anyway, my little theory about why Fed is such a great front-runner, but not as stellar when coming from behind. Murray (although he is by no means the player Federer is) suffers a similar problem when he gets behind.

Posted by Stewart 06/01/2010 at 10:53 PM

Really think Sod is a great matchup for Rafa on clay. Rafa can't hurt Sod on serve the way Roger can - even late in the 4th set Roger saved several break points with aces, unreturnable serves and S&V. Sod, however, can force short replies from Rafa. I also anticipate Sod would have a better start against Rafa because of this - he will get into the early rallies and find his range sooner than it took today.

The main advantage Rafa has against Sod is the severe angles he can create with his forehand, thus opening up the court to go inside out to Sod's FH side.

Berdych, however, remains a big big hurdle, and will be fresher after cleaning up Youzhny today. Would love to see Djokovic take Rafa deep but I anticipate Melzer will drain his energy in a tough 4 setter - Melzer had Gabashvilli running constantly on a string in their match, and Juergen likes to approach the net behind his shots. Djok had better practice the lob.

Predictions: Soderling beats Berdych in 4 sets, LOTS of winners. The Rafa/Djok match will go to the victor of the first set.
Final: Sod defeats Nadal in 4.

GO SAMMY STOSUR, serve Serena off the court!

Posted by chicklet 06/01/2010 at 10:57 PM

Pspace - First Murray in AO, now Fed at RG...have you considered that the problem is you?
Get off the Rafa train! Don't jinx this for me.

I'm serious. Change that moniker or there will be consequences...

Posted by susan 06/01/2010 at 10:57 PM

robbie koenig also said the pivotal point was set point in the third. federer mentions it as well in his presser as a key point, among a few others. "unusual" to return such a great smash lob. (and more than two hours to get to the presser..hmmm. he was upset, understandably so.)

"but, really it just came down to one shot. Federer's smash lob on SP in the third set, Zod stuck his racquet out and came up aces. No way he hits like that in the fourth set when he's down. Anyhoo, Randy's high bh volley in the Wimby TB comes to mind, as one that went Federer's way." pspace

i wonder if the steely determination and mental strength that koenig mentioned will continue in the berdych match? .

Posted by Stewart 06/01/2010 at 10:58 PM

Very good question Leigh - I think it will depend on who Nadal plays. If it's Djokovic, I can't imagine them relegating Nadal and Djok to Suzanne Lenglen, but if it's Melzer it's a tossup. Which means Sod has to adjust to the different court that Berdych just played on. Excellent thought.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/01/2010 at 10:59 PM

Could someone tell me what Robin said at his oncourt interview as Fox doesn't show them.

Posted by Pspace 06/01/2010 at 10:59 PM

chicklet, done!

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) loves Phenomenadal 06/01/2010 at 11:00 PM

Angel, i saw it on the Fox replay this morning. leigh put up a transcript upthread, 10:48pm

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 11:02 PM

Pspace Hell remember there is a bloody Rafa tee here at stake no?

Also a pair of Thorlo socks added in if he dosent lose a set

Okay I am not jinzing Rafa just stated the obvious.

Also I see some people are biting at the chomp to see Rafa lose at RG this year or even go out before.

Ahhh Fun times indeed.

Posted by lpb (Susan) 06/01/2010 at 11:03 PM

Leigh, Both men's semis should be scheduled for Chatrier.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/01/2010 at 11:03 PM

I thought they played both men's SFs on Chatrier. Hadn't Sod/Gonzo concluded last year before Fed/DelPo took the court?

Posted by Stewart 06/01/2010 at 11:04 PM

Sorry to be a sourpuss, but who's bright idea was it to have Bodo in Paris during the 2nd week instead of Tignor?

Steve would have had some remarkable and insightful things to say about this match. Pete starts off his articles by making incorrect assumptions (Stan Wawrinka is a minion? come on..) like Fed was playing not to lose. NO Pete Fed was being stubborn and didn't adjust his game plan, just like he did(n't) when Delpo started to fight back.

Seriously? You reduce a tense, thrilling, very well played match to a catchphrase (KISS?) Tignor would have painted a picture and given us all a sense of the true on court atmosphere, with the constant drizzle and Sod's focused determination. Given us a vivid description of the sheer power of Soderling's attacking groundstrokes.

It's bad enough you devolve into chauvinist ramblings whenever you touch the WTA, but at least give us a better effort on the men's game, would you please?

Posted by chicklet 06/01/2010 at 11:04 PM

Haha, thanks Pspace.
We just have to cover all possibilities.

Posted by FoT 06/01/2010 at 11:05 PM

One thing... since Roger's been on this great streak, hasn't the player who defeated him in a slam has gone on to win the slam? Just a thought. lol!

Posted by BlueDog (Vamos Rafa and Ajde Glitter Queen!) 06/01/2010 at 11:07 PM

Here Pspace, let me get that for you.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 11:07 PM

Chicklet Good for you.Dont let Pspace's swinger fan tactics add anymore harm as they have done in the past.

Posted by Stewart 06/01/2010 at 11:07 PM

'whose' I meant to say

Posted by Pspace 06/01/2010 at 11:09 PM

LOL, Blue Dog. You wear it well. Good to see you around these parts.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/01/2010 at 11:09 PM

BlueDog -- LOL.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 11:13 PM

Blue Dog You Rock!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by BlueDog 06/01/2010 at 11:14 PM

Hmmm. It was heavier than I thought it would be :)

Posted by jaime 06/01/2010 at 11:20 PM

hi i saw tv watch tennis play roger lose again sorry for him bec very bad luck of rain

Posted by John Culhane 06/01/2010 at 11:22 PM

Watching this, I was reminded of the Berdych match from last year's Aussie Open, and last year's U.S. Open final against Del Potro. I reflected on today's match on my (not usually tennis-related) blog: http://wordinedgewise.org/?p=1220

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/01/2010 at 11:22 PM

susan(lpb)- Djokovic and Melzer are scheduled for Lenglen. Each court has a woman's quarter-final, men's quarter and double fourth round.

Posted by bill 06/01/2010 at 11:22 PM

Soderling played an excellent game creating a variety of angles with carefully gauged power. Every shot was carefully thought out and he totally outplayed Federer today.

What is this KISS garbage? I think Pete's bias is as obvious as his lame 'analysis'.

Posted by Account Deleted 06/01/2010 at 11:23 PM

@leigh -

nice notes. with those players, Fed cant forgive himself. On byrdich coming through in his semis, I still believe a Rafa-Soderling Final has no substitute, it is just perfect. It is nice to see how rafa prepares himself for this eventuality. It is given rafa will do what it takes to regain RG title.

Posted by BlueDog 06/01/2010 at 11:24 PM

Thanks Pspace, AF and AM.

You know I'm a Fed man at heart, but I think a Sodal final would be a nice change.

Posted by leigh 06/01/2010 at 11:24 PM

Thanks, Susan and ActionFlunky.
I think you are right. They both will be on Chatrier
Okay, they will be playing on the court that plays faster; and it
will be a sunny, dry day. Who will this benefit?
I think that will benefit the better mover. The announcers today commented
that Soderling is not that great of a mover.

Posted by ditcher 06/01/2010 at 11:28 PM

This is a set up. Federer made deal with Soderling last year to let him win his French Open and this year, he would give the nod back. It's true. The fix seems there to me watching Roger and Robin last and this year.

Posted by lpb (Susan) 06/01/2010 at 11:30 PM

Annie, Leigh inquired about the men's semis on Friday, not the QFs.

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 11:33 PM

"One thing... since Roger's been on this great streak, hasn't the player who defeated him in a slam has gone on to win the slam? Just a thought. lol!"

very true, FoT! let's see...

2004: kuerten rg semis, went on to win
2005: safin ao semis, went on to win
2005: rafa rg semis, went on to win
2008: djokovic ao semis, went on to win

so clearly the pattern fits...

2010: soderling will go on to win! yipppeeee!!

Posted by Aube,I'll never drive and talk again!!! 06/01/2010 at 11:34 PM

Serebaby,I once heard ALICIA MOLIK said "Do not die wandering!!!"That's my advice to you tomorrow,as the chicken I am I will not be watching or surfing,I do not see how you will not fall to SAM,she's good,fit,lethal and has a great attitude and quite frankly I rather you fall to her than to Jelena Jankovic and my pinky seldom wrongs me and it's been telling me since the beggining of this clay season that JELENA JANKOVIC is the eventual queen of this clay tournament,anyway we shall see,but just do not do like Venus,that is to say to just look like a wet chicken on the court,fight till the end and hold you head high no matter what happened,after all,FEDERER,the greatest of all just fell,and he is the one you usually go to the tournament party with,so never mind,but fight till the end,OK?

Posted by chicklet 06/01/2010 at 11:34 PM

ditcher - Heh. That's some deal.
Fed also agreed to let Delpo take the USO last year as long as Delpo took the 2010 season off.
And Rafa and Roger agreed to trade Wimby08 and FO09 titles. Trust me, that one took some heavy negotiation.

Posted by chicklet 06/01/2010 at 11:36 PM

Poor Roddick keeps trying to work out an agreement with Fed.
Mirka won't answer his calls.

Posted by GB 06/01/2010 at 11:38 PM

Once again, really sorry Fed fans! I still can't believe it...

Now, selfishly, OMFG OMFG!! When Angel tells me to frazzle away, I know it's really serious:) I can't see Sod not making the final (and I'd be happy as hell to jinx him:)). I don't understand how people are thinking he's gonna have some kind of letdown - he didn't last year and wasn't he crying after beating Rafa? At the FO only, beating Rafa is at least as big as beating Fed...Plus, his patchy form in the lead up events is as meaningless as it was last year.

As for Rafa - he is soooo many steps away from the final (one. step. at. a. time!) and there are absolutely no guarantees that he's gonna get there (I'm terrified about Nico as a starting point). But, if he were to get there - I can't even imagine a situation that would have more pression for him that stepping onto PC against Sod!!!!!! Sod's basically unbreakable and Rafa's been pretty incapable of holding onto any breaks he gets since Nico in Madrid:(((( Sod sure as hell isn't getting broken multiple times in a set:((((

I think I'm gonna have to take actual drugs now.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) loves Phenomenadal 06/01/2010 at 11:39 PM

"fight till the end and hold you head high no matter what happened,after all,FEDERER,the greatest of all just fell,and he is the one you usually go to the tournament party with,so never mind,but fight till the end,OK?"

i'm interested to know how many Winner's Ball or whatever it's called Fed and Serena have gone to "together" (cos they won at the same tournament, duh! hehe). can Fed/ReRe fans here post something abt that? i can remember only the 09 ones and the AO this year...

Posted by crazyone 06/01/2010 at 11:46 PM

mina: USO 2008.

sod's friend: Fed actually lost to Kuerten in 3R, and Kuerten came nowhere near winning the tourney that year.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 11:47 PM

Good afternoon

Queen of The Frazzlers

May I say apart from taking "real drugs"

Whats new in your world

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 11:49 PM

@crazyone,
you are my official fact police - lol! tells you how little i know about tennis! thanks, anyway!

and still...

2010: soderling must go on to win the title - the logic follows, intangibles or not!

Posted by Majoy 06/01/2010 at 11:50 PM

Well done Soderling...not to worry too much...despite everyones hard work...Rafa will still take home the title :-) Vamos Rafa!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 11:51 PM

Kim I just got your email

Sorry I know there is no need for me to tape Rogers matches for you

Lunch is on me next Tuesday,by the way you and I might neeed extra alchol.

I will wait for your call

Try to have a good day

Posted by Account Deleted 06/01/2010 at 11:52 PM


@sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!)
“very true, FoT! let's see...
2004: kuerten rg semis, went on to win
2005: safin ao semis, went on to win
2005: rafa rg semis, went on to win
2008: djokovic ao semis, went on to win
so clearly the pattern fits...
2010: soderling will go on to win! yipppeeee!!”

Kuerten defeated Fed in the 3rd round. Don’t invent to create a pattern.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/01/2010 at 11:53 PM

BD -- Fed fan, too, and agree that the change of faces isn't the worst, especially at RG, hardly a place of many fond memories for our guy. But I must admit my devious side would chuckle pretty loudly if the forgotten man, Nole, somehow came thru and even stole the whole thing. Mind you, given his form he's probably lucky to have gotten this far, but it would somehow be so Djoker-like.

Posted by GB 06/01/2010 at 11:54 PM

IF the nightmarish final were to come to pass, I hope Sod continues to relish breaking streaks, cause there's two I really, really want him to break:

* Rafa never having won a slam without taking Fed down; and
* Fed never losing to anyone but the eventual winner

AM: I don't think I even knew what frazzle meant before now. I'm not even yoking about the drugs!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/01/2010 at 11:57 PM

GB LOL!! Thats par the course where you are concerned.I love your consistancy.

Well anything I try to say to you will be useless

Keep doing what you do best ok lol!

By the way I am with "colm"

Posted by sod'sfriend (gunning for "fedal slam" - roger down, bring on rafa!) 06/01/2010 at 11:58 PM

@saintpaul83,
thanks for the correction, which some other knowledgeable soul did up-thread.
excitement from victory can cloud the senses which is why i'm glad soderling was subdued at the his press conference today.

he has 2 more victories to the promised land, so he better keep his focus - i'll do the senseless bragging for him!

g-nite all.

go almagro - stuff that other non-foop tomorrow! (if you can forget ur minionhood for just a day!)

Posted by seaweed 06/01/2010 at 11:59 PM

wow, you guys are still here! anyways, here's a cutesy little story on FO ballkids

http://tinyurl.com/2blm34p

if anybody needs a little from (a) frazzling; (b) match overanalysis; (c) bickering ;)

Posted by seaweed 06/01/2010 at 11:59 PM

...and (d) breathless prognostication.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 12:00 AM

Since you obviously have some freakishly inexhaustible supply of colm AM, I wish you could ship some to Rafa!!!!!

Posted by seaweed 06/02/2010 at 12:01 AM

...a little RESPITE from ...

Posted by Carrie *Vamos Rafa and/or Nico, Elena, and Blackhawks!* 06/02/2010 at 12:02 AM

I must admit that I tend to focus more on the ATP- but I like the WTA and to me- this has been the best WTA tounament for quite a while.

Quite a few 3 setters- some fantastic matches (Sam/Justine imo will go down as one of the matches of the year), great stories - Schiavone for example (sp.?). Great WTA tournament. I hope the Sam/Serena match lives up to its potential tomorrow.

Posted by Carrie *Vamos Rafa and/or Nico, Elena, and Blackhawks!* 06/02/2010 at 12:03 AM

^^^^

And go Elena!!!!!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 12:05 AM

Thanks for the snippet on Sod's oncourt interview.

Stewart, Robin has played on SL court at least once this tournament so he will be use to the conditions.

Posted by Temporary De-lurker 06/02/2010 at 12:09 AM

Perspective.

True of course that the hands of time slow for no man, and Fed is not likely to escape the fate of all lucky people, which is to say that he will get old some day. Athletes of today are not over the hill at age 28, plain and simple, at least not from a physical standpoint - injuries aside. The pressures or simple changes brought about from getting married and having children or having parents aging, etc. can take a chunk out of the time an athlete might have spent preparing or perhaps simply bring about an increasing number of mental lapses. Roger could be subject to any number of those circumstances.

The thing is, clearly, judging by his results at Madrid right before the French open, Roger's form was peaking for Roland Garros, but for the first time in 24 tournaments, he failed to reach the semifinal of a Grand Slam tournament. Let's all get a grip here. He did win 3 out of the previous 4, no? Just give it a little time before we start annointing the "next one," before we start planning funerals, or before we start jumping off bridges.

As a note, I will say that I have been a little down in the dumps since the end of that match, but I'm getting a grip. Playing against top professional players, even the best will lose a match here and there. Besides, if Roger were to never play another match in his life, his career total of 16 Grand Slams woill likely be more than the total career victories of the next three current players - and that includes Rafa. His legacy is secure.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 12:14 AM

GB Rafa is with "colm" let me assure you.

One little phrase that people here seem to forgot when they have already wanted him out.going to lose in the final which by the way he hasnt got to

Either has Robin or anyone else for that matter

I see people have really gone into melt down and left their feelings get in the way.

I understand having facing Roger for what 12 times whatever and finally beating him is a big deal.

However you are only as good as your last game remember? Hmmm might want to ponder on that one for sometime.

In saying that Belief and mental abilty in todays game is roughly about 80%

Back to Rafa? hey remember him.Lets go and look at his current clay season.Hmmmm not bad indeed.

Beware Of The Wounded Bull!!!!!

Posted by BlueDog 06/02/2010 at 12:14 AM

AF- My daughter and I were sitting around the other night asking each other who our second favorite players were. I was a bit surprised to find we both picked Nole. He seems to have achieved a measure of humility, which in turn makes me want to see him rewarded. So I'd actually be happy to see him come out of nowhere and win it. But, yeah, I certainly won't be putting any money on it.

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