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RG Crisis Center, Day Quinze 06/07/2009 - 8:45 AM

PhpaRi9vaAM

Well, it's T-minus 2 hours and 28 minutes as I write this here in the Roland Garros press room. I wrote an preview of the men's final for ESPN, you can read that post here. Beyond that, I think you can throw discussions about the X's and O's out the window on this one, even though they will ultimately constitute the "official" history of the 2009 Roland Garros final.

What we have here is something that only the most passionate of Federer fans might have expected as few as two weeks ago: a potential career-defining match. For just as a win here over Rafael Nadal in the final would have been the sweetest thing imaginable for the Federer faithful, a loss to Robin Soderling today will be a buzz-kill of remarkable proportions, making any defense of Federer's record sound hollow - even if that defense is utterly legitimate.

BTW, I hope all of you will remain civil and compassionate toward each other, no matter how things turn out. No amount of fanlove justifies the kind of chest-thumping or gloating that a huge match like this will invite- whoever wins.

On another front, a number of the Twibe's lovely chicas have assembled here at the last minute, despite scalper tickets running around $600 per seat in Chatrier. Given the historic nature of this match, that's a bargain, at least if you compare it to trying to get a ticket to, say, the seventh game of the World Series in a major market city. Anyway, Viv and her mum flew in from Cork, Ireland, and Alex and Susan K. from New York, who spent the first week here on vacation, extended their stay, hoping to see Federer make  history today (And JB - Susan, Viv and I were going to call you a few minutes ago, but wiser heads prevailed. . .)

Robin When I walked into the press center this morning, Dick Norman was standing at the desk, talking with one of the press assistants. It occurred to me that he may be trying to reach one of my Belgian colleagues, who sit near me in the work room upstairs. As I passed I said, "Dick, are you looking for somebody?"

"No," he said, "I'm just trying to get a video of a match."

When I was halfway up the stairs, he called after me, "Thanks for that article, I thought it was really great. . ."

We don't often get that kind of feedback from the players, so it's welcome when we do. But I bring this up just to let you know that many players read TennisWorld, and we can all be proud about that, right?

Enjoy the men's final, everyone, it's going to be one helluva day no matter what happens.

-- Pete

As at 10:35 TW time, TypePad is freezing, so an overflow is up.  Andrew

And at 1:10pm TW time, Overflow 2..... Andrew

Overflow

Overflow 2


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Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:27 AM

Roger first serve ace 15-0
Roger hits fh out 15 all
1st serve wide
2nd serve in Sods into net 30-15
Sods hits fh out 40-15
Sods sends another fh long game 4-0

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:27 AM

Roger first serve ace 15-0
Roger hits fh out 15 all
1st serve wide
2nd serve in Sods into net 30-15
Sods hits fh out 40-15
Sods sends another fh long game 4-0

Posted by xerxes 06/07/2009 at 09:27 AM

4-0 now

Posted by Sherlock 06/07/2009 at 09:27 AM

Just get a game, dude.

Posted by toonie 06/07/2009 at 09:27 AM

Hey tangi welcome, I'm afraid to get too relaxed even at 3-0 for Fed.

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:27 AM

Soderling is clearly nervous, I hope the Fed takes good advantage...

Everytime I see Bjorn, I go pfffttt, I can not forgive him for implying that the Fed is going to retire because he can't take the heat...pffftttt

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 06/07/2009 at 09:28 AM

Maha,

Are you not able to watch the match?

Posted by mpiktas 06/07/2009 at 09:29 AM

Good, ok, really good start from Roger. No time for celebrating yet. Roger lost FO after every start imaginable.

Posted by Lurker10 06/07/2009 at 09:29 AM

get your good rythem Soderling you it's too early you can do it man.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) (Sick of unnecessary JJ bashing) 06/07/2009 at 09:29 AM

is Andre presenting the trophy????.....like Steffi?? (who i think could present the wimbly one)...........or is borg???

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:29 AM

Well the Fed needs to grab this game by the horn, Soderling is pumping himself up, and he's finally found the 1st serve...this is not over...so glad it's a double break...

Posted by 1221 06/07/2009 at 09:30 AM

Sod's on the board. Fed leads 4-1.

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:30 AM

rog dumps into net on game point. rog to serve 4-1

Posted by Josh 06/07/2009 at 09:30 AM

Robin's tight, that's for sure. He's giving Roger too many opportunities to set up for the forehand, which Robin isn't reading any better than the serve. The only trouble Roger's having to this point is his slice backhand off of Soderling's flat two hander. The lack of spin results in Roger imparting more backspin than he's used to, resulting in it floating long.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Soderling has friends. 06/07/2009 at 09:30 AM

The Sod is on the board. I believe! Kom nu!

Posted by Pspace 06/07/2009 at 09:30 AM

Soderling finally holds. That has to be a relief. Here he comes!

Posted by mpiktas 06/07/2009 at 09:31 AM

Ok, frazzle, frazzle, frazzle :)

Posted by Andrew 06/07/2009 at 09:31 AM

Soderling on the board, out of a 15-30 hole (that probably felt big) with a floating Federer slice return wide, an ace, and a Federer FH in the net. 4-1 Federer, two breaks.

It looks like it's mainly nerves for Soderling right now. He's also playing from deep.

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2009 at 09:31 AM

Hold, Fed. Keep riding the wave. Keep pushing.

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 06/07/2009 at 09:32 AM

Hey, toonie! Welcome aboard Beckham's bus. I'm not relaxing, either. The onslaught is coming.

Posted by Lurker10 06/07/2009 at 09:32 AM

you are now getting better Robin...good hold!

Posted by Codge 06/07/2009 at 09:32 AM

Good start for Fed
msnbc streaming is totally bogus. Doesn't even show the court, just the players. Thank God for ATDHE.net

Posted by Nam1 06/07/2009 at 09:32 AM

Robin Soderling is toast!!

Go Roger!!

BTW, an update for Rafa fans, his knee is really bad, he is going to a Barcelona specialist and he may be out of wimbledon.

Posted by Mike 06/07/2009 at 09:32 AM

Fed has a tendency to look complacent when he's way ahead ... maybe it's a look of confidence, but I hope he doesn't loosen his grip. Stay on top of him, Fed.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:32 AM

Rog 15-0
1st serve into net
Sods sends fh wide 30-0
1st serve out
Fed fh hits good 40-0
Sods bh long game 5-1

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:33 AM

rog follows serve to net, robin hits long. game point rog.

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2009 at 09:33 AM

Solid, Fed. Crisp ballstriking, but it's not as though he's having to hit a lot of balls to begin with.

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:33 AM

oops. rog 5-1.

Posted by just a note 06/07/2009 at 09:33 AM

Gosh, nerves cause lots of problems - I've got a splitting headache!;)

Thanks TWibe for all the laughs and thoughtful comments!!

Go Roger!


jan

Posted by waitsfan 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

I sure hope he keeps this up. Nothing at all against Soderling...I just really want to see Roger hold up the cup!!

Posted by toonie 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

wow Roger looks really good out there.

Posted by kiwibee 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

Go Roger!

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

Where is everybody?

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

Nice fh volley from Sods

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

robin comes to net. good BH volley.

Posted by 1221 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

Nam1 :( really? Oh God...


Posted by jb... (Go Smiley Fed!) 06/07/2009 at 09:34 AM

ok then. soderling serving. this game will tell us if his nerves quieting down or not. I think this set is a write off, he can just swing freely and see if he can find his rhythm. fed looks sharp, fairly relaxed,

I would be curled in the fetal position clutching my racket.

and a lovely shot at net by soderling for the point. this can get sticky quickly for fed, if robin's level amps up quickly and fed has trouble adjusting.

Posted by Josh 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

Robin with a lovely volley. He's finding his nerve and his game. Bill Gates in Paris to cheer him on.

Posted by mpiktas 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

Did they show Bill Gates? He is a tennis fan?

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

Dude break, so you can serve first in the 2nd...ALLEZ!!!

Posted by sam hill 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

Soderling's having a hard time pretending this is a practice match.

(With good reason.)

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

Crazyone (if you're around):

Fed's return game is dialed in today.

(Soderling's poor first-serve percentage hasn't hurt.)

Posted by Josh 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

But Roger is all over the Soderling serve - reading it like Roddick's.

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:35 AM

set point, rog. i'm sure no one expected that so soon.

Posted by Nam1 06/07/2009 at 09:36 AM

1221:

Re: Rafa
I will try and post the link for the article from Spanish newspaper "Marca" that quoted Toni Nadal.

Posted by Maha - *RG officially in state of chaos - Roger, seize your chance?????* 06/07/2009 at 09:36 AM

Tangi!!!!! No I can't... I'm on a coach and get home in an hour!!!!! How horrible is that?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Plus my GPRS is CHEAP.

Yay 5-1!!!! As far as I know..

Posted by 1221 06/07/2009 at 09:36 AM

Set 1 Federer...

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) (Sick of unnecessary JJ bashing) 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

it seems Robin is the more tight one....which i didnt expect.....nothing seems to be clicking just yet......and Roger is just hittign some amazing shots....and lots of variety!!!
Allez Rog with the breadstick!!

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

rog passes robin pretty. rog has 1st set.

Posted by arbi 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

Stellar play from Roger in the first set. Go Roger, we don't want any suffering today. This day should be only about celebrations.

Posted by kiwibee 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

2 more sets Roger!!!!Please keep playing like 1st set.


Go Roger!!!!!

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

And there is the 1st set...he serves first in the 2nd...dude no walkabouts, no leaving the stadium, this is toooooooo big of a match....ALLEZ!!!!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

Ok Robin regroup and come out firing for the 2nd set.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

Gee 6-1 1st set has some familar rings to it? dosent it

Allez Roger

Posted by Pierre 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

I don't think nervousness is the main problem for Soderling...I think his leg or his foot in not right. He can't push off it, even on his second serves. He isn't moving at all.

Posted by TheTennisFan 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

So far, history making event seems on track!
Nice to see Agassi at the French.

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2009 at 09:37 AM

A baguette served up in just 23 minutes.

Foot on the gas, Fed, in the next 23 minutes, and the 23 minutes after that.

Keep pushing. Keep riding the wave.

Don't let Soderling believe.

Be a good front-runner, a la the Monfils match.

Posted by Josh 06/07/2009 at 09:38 AM

Yes!

What a lovely smile brought to Mirka's face.

Posted by Andrew 06/07/2009 at 09:38 AM

First set Federer, 6-1. Good start, I think.

Soderling sending nervous looks to his group, channelling his inner Dinara. Federer getting on with business - hitting cleanly, moving well.

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 06/07/2009 at 09:38 AM

Wow! I didn't see that coming! It's wonderful that Fed isn't in a hole after the first set. Playing from a set ahead and serving to start the second. Keep your foot on the gas! The onslaught is coming.

Posted by toonie 06/07/2009 at 09:38 AM

wow Roger wins the set. Time for a coffee, is before 8 am too early for alcohol?

Posted by mpiktas 06/07/2009 at 09:38 AM

No 2nd set walk abouts. Remember once Federer won the set 6-1 against Nadal, and went on to lose following 3 sets. Baby steps, baby steps.

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

This 2nd set is huge, the Fed needs to break early and soon, and there we go love-15 hole...a DF....

Posted by Orpheo 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

Bur Beckham oh Beckham and here i thought you didnt like the FO...*giggle*

Posted by art_corvelay 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

Roger took Rafa down 6-1 in the first set in the 2006 final, then lost the 2nd 1-6. Let's hope there is no 2nd set let down this time!!

Posted by jb... (Go Smiley Fed!) 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

tangi - lol - look at the posts? there mutliple posts each minute! yikes, we may break typepad early today!

very nice 1st set. I do expect soderling to come out better in the second. just move on. but the kad in me is saying, I'm ok with 2 more sets of this.

now hopefully feddy won't go walkabout...

Posted by mpiktas 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

Oh, btw, awesome set by Federer. Feel pity for Soderling, clearly he is feeling the pressure.

Posted by Mike 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

OK ... which Sod will come out 2nd set?

A few signs of that great serve and net play creeped out the last couple of games ... how he comes out of the gate is so important.

Geez ... I won't be relaxed until (hopefully) Rog wins the last last freakin' point! LOL

Posted by Nam1 06/07/2009 at 09:39 AM

http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=30&art_id=nw20090607113518190C952713

here is the link to the article that quotes Toni Nadal as saying "he is not optimistic about Wimbledon" and The "Rafa is very affected by this"

Back to the FO, and it look like Roger gets into the history books today...

Posted by Maha - *RG officially in state of chaos - Roger, seize your chance?????* 06/07/2009 at 09:40 AM

OH JOY!!!!!!! First set 6-1!!!!!

*Does crazy banana dance and throws shiny confetti*

But don't rest Roger!!!!! Keep going!!!!

Posted by kiwibee 06/07/2009 at 09:40 AM

Some of your guys really make me nervous when mentioning about Roger.

Come on Roger!

Posted by roadrunnerz 06/07/2009 at 09:40 AM

Two more sets, Fed!! Just do it!!

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2009 at 09:40 AM

Fed doubles to start the second set, but Soderling donates a return on the next point.

Soderling has to pounce on any glimmer of opportunity.

It's rare when the second point of a SET can be said to be huge, but that love-15 point, in game 1 of the second set, was big.

1-0 Federer.

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:40 AM

rog holds cleanly, robin to serve 0-1

Posted by Josh 06/07/2009 at 09:41 AM

Robin still tight, playing down two levels and being thoroughly outclassed.

Posted by waitsfan 06/07/2009 at 09:41 AM

not too early for an adult beverage....after all it is mid-afternoon in Paris, non?

allez!!

Posted by kiwibee 06/07/2009 at 09:41 AM

Wow!Another baby Leo?lol


Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 06/07/2009 at 09:41 AM

Oh, Maha! That's too bad. This should make you smile: Fed's 1st serve % in the first set was 69%. Carillo says Fed is dancing on the court, as if he's playing with no pressure, controlling the points from everywhere.

Sherlock,

I'm very impressed you're up so early to see my BFed play. :)

Posted by Mike 06/07/2009 at 09:41 AM

I think Robin's legs are like cement because of nerves ... the guy is human, even though he's played like a machine all week. This is for all the marbles ... so much pressure.

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:42 AM

Orpheo: I still detest clay, I'm only watching this because apparently the Fed needs the FO, ALLEZ!!!

Mirka is smiling...I'm still not there, another break would be awesome, no errors...ALLEZ!!!

Posted by TennisRone 1000 06/07/2009 at 09:42 AM

Has the real Sod returned? Very solid start for Rog! A little more FOCUS and FINISH is needed here.

Posted by yello fuzzy 06/07/2009 at 09:42 AM

It would be nice if Roger had to work a bit for this historic moment today, but the Sod is choking up a bit and Roger isn't missing ...Roger just has to hold firm and history is his

Posted by josh 06/07/2009 at 09:42 AM

31/44 points won for fed. haha!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:42 AM

woohoo two points in a row by the Sod.

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:42 AM

Soderling is definitely play better...hmmmph this is so not over...C'mon break...ALLEZ

Posted by Beckham (Bus Conductor!!!) 06/07/2009 at 09:43 AM

And Soderling holds easily...his serve is back...this is soooo not over....

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:43 AM

steadier game from robin, 1-1

Posted by kiwibee 06/07/2009 at 09:44 AM

Come on Roger!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Dinara Safina the new WTA #1) 06/07/2009 at 09:44 AM

Thank goodness he won his first service game of the set. Hopefully he will be able to tackle serve.

Posted by Sherlock 06/07/2009 at 09:44 AM

Tangi, he he. :)

I don't think I'll be here for long though. This is depressing. At least make your man fight for it.

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2009 at 09:44 AM

Focus, Fed.

Loose backhand there.

Posted by mpiktas 06/07/2009 at 09:44 AM

Ok, first signs of the mighty shankerer. Come on Roger!

Posted by Maha - *RG officially in state of chaos - Roger, seize your chance?????* 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

Tangi, that DID make me smile!!!!! :D nice to see you around after so long!!!!!

God this match could get evil....

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) (Sick of unnecessary JJ bashing) 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

i am now in love with roger's dropshot.....

Posted by Mike 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

Don't get lazy Fed ... this guy is TOO dangerous to let back in the game and gain confidence.

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

Hey, jb!

The drop shot is working well for Rog today.

Posted by sic (¡este chico es Pata Negra!) 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

Wilander commmented at the end of the set about how "relieved and lucky" Federer was to be facing an opponent that is perfect for him. He also talked about how different a SF is from a F for newbie Grand slam finalists. I still remember the first-set bagel Rafa ate at Wimby 2006.

Let's hope that Robin can start playing anywhere near the form he's shown throughout the rest of the tournament.

Posted by jb... (Go Smiley Fed!) 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

ahh - as expected, soderling has settled during the time between the sets.

fed needs to continue to hit his spots. fed in one of those moods where it looks like he has all the time in the world to hit his shots.

hopefully he keeps it up.

Posted by † Hallelujah 06/07/2009 at 09:45 AM

< shrieks at a blood-curdlingly high pitch - go Roger!

Posted by seaweed 06/07/2009 at 09:46 AM

i think rog's balls are too low for the taller(?) robin. he's had to bend a lot to dig out balls.

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