The 2010 Roland Garros men’s singles champion will emerge today in an intriguing battle between 2 players who faced off last year at Roland Garros in the round of 16. In 2009 Robin Soderling became the 1st man to defeat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. This year is the rematch and thus far Nadal has won 4 matches against Soderling, their 1st three matches and their latest encounter in the final of the Capitala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi in January this year, which Nadal won 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.
Play will begin at 3pm local time in Paris, France on the centre court at Roland Garros stadium. The centre court used to be called Court Central but has been renamed, Court Philippe Chartrier. Both men will be battling for the Musketeers Cup with Soderling trying to go one better than last year when he lost in the final to Roger Federer. This year Soderling conquered No.1 seed Roger Federer to come through that section of the draw and prevent a Federer – Nadal final. Soderling is playing his 2nd final here and after winning 4 of his past 5 matches against Federer and Nadal, should provide a riveting final against the 4 time Roland Garros champion.
Soderling has won 2 matches against Nadal, last year’s match at Roland Garros and a straight sets win in the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals. As much as Nadal is considered to be the strong favourite because of his record on clay and in finals, especially Grand Slam finals, the only thing that counts is who can perform better today, overcome the mental challenges and execute under pressure in the critical, pivotal moments in which both players will find themselves in. This match most certainly can go either way. If both players play at their best level, then Soderling will win.
Soderling does not have the 2 main disadvantages that he had last year in the men’s singles final. Firstly, it was his 1st Grand Slam final and secondly, he had never beaten Federer. The 1.93m Swede said, after coming from 2 sets to 1 down in his semi final against Tomas Berdych to win in 5 sets, “But of course it’s always good to have beaten a player before. I know that I can beat him. I showed it.”
When asked about the difference in playing Nadal in the final today and playing him last year, Soderling said, “Well, yeah, there’s always a difference. Every match is different. Every tournament is different. But, again, to play a final here, it’s great. Hopefully I can handle it a little bit better this year than I did last year, because last year everything was so it was so new for me. Now I got used to it a little bit more. You know, I played many matches against Roger in both Wimbledon and US Open last year, against Rafa in Masters. I played many matches against good players. I think I learned from everyone all that matches.”
After the 1.85m Nadal won his semi final against Jurgen Melzer to keep his record of not losing a set at Roland Garros this year, in tact he spoke about what Soderling’s strength was, “Well, everything. He has a very complete game. It’s very difficult to get a move, because his serve is very powerful, both on the first and the second ball. He’s very aggressive from the baseline. Sometimes he will play long, flat shots. So it’s very difficult to make him run and move. Wherever he is, he strikes with a very powerful shot. He won easily to me last year.”
When asked what he can do to counter Soderling’s game style and strengths the Spaniard said, “Well, you can play long, make him move, make him run, and it’s difficult of course. It’s going to be difficult. There is always a solution, and I’ll have to find it. So a good serve, I agree with you. A good serve is key. I don’t think he’ll have many opportunities of winning my serve, but you never know.” Nadal is pictured above getting set to smash, today he has a great chance to smash more records in the tennis world.
Nadal was asked about why he thought big hitting players like Berdcyh and Soderling where doing so well on clay even though they do not hit with very much topspin, he replied, “I think the court here it probably easier for these kind of players. This year I think the court is more slippery. Is difficult to be strong on the court. That’s very positive thing for these kind of players, because is difficult to move well. And for the players, for the specialists on clay, one of the most important things is the movements. I think this year the court is slippery than the rest of the years. That’s my feeling. For these kind of players, is easier to have winners.”
When Nadal was asked what his two greatest strengths are he gave a great tip for anyone who plays tennis and a key for him to be able to win today, (his positive mentality). Nadal said, “Well, I had always a good forehand, and probably the mobility. Probably the mind was, the character was important to improve and to come back after difficult situations, no? So I think the important thing is the positive mentality that I have. Sure, all the time I want to be better and I want to improve my tennis. I want to improve my shots. I want to improve my position on court. So in the end the thing is I think the most important thing for me is always I work a lot to be a better player. I think that’s my better shot.”
This one could really go either way, so let’s let the players do the talking and enjoy watching two very deserving champions do battle. Anyone can say Nadal will win and he is the huge favourite to win in the media. Rafa will have a lot of pressure to deal with and if anyone deserves to win a Grand Slam title other than Federer and Nadal it is Soderling. Prediction: Soderling in 4 sets.
Further details about the men’s final and a preview to the men’s singles final will be posted and updated right here ASAP. In the meantime for information about the men’s singles you can visit -> Roland Garros Men’s Schedule of Play and Roland Garros 2010 Men’s Singles.
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about the 2010 Roland Garros Championships for both the men’s and women’s events. Click this link for more details -> Roland Garros: French Open 2010 May 18 – June 6.
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