Archive for the ‘Roland Garros 2009’ Tag

Soderling vs. Nadal – 2009 French Open

In case you missed the upset of a lifetime, here’s the match in its entirety.  Robin Soderling does the unthinkable and hands Rafael Nadal his first loss ever at Roland Garros.  Nadal had won the previous four titles there, a run involving 31 consecutive match wins.

From the 2006 quarterfinals onward, he lost only two sets.  Let me make that clear:  In 20 matches, he only twice allowed an opponent to win ONE set.  Therefore, the idea of one person taking THREE sets off Nadal in the same match seems all the more preposterous.   Not only did Soderling do this, but he did so without having to play a fifth set.  I think this pretty clearly illustrates the magnitude of his accomplishment.  Especially since Nadal manhandled Soderling on clay in Rome barely a month ago, with Nadal conceding only one game!

In a discussion on The Tennis Channel, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova expectedly labeled the match one of the greatest upsets in tennis history.  But they also brought up a past-era analogy by pointing out Björn Borg, who with Nadal is considered arguably the greatest clay-court player of all-time.  Of the nine French Opens contested between 1973 to 1981, Borg won the title six times and lost only twice (he didn’t play in ’77).  But those two losses were to the same player:  Adriano Panatta, who defeated him in the 1973 round of 16 and the 1976 quarterfinals.  It’s an apt comparison, since Panatta and Soderling both beat men otherwise unbeatable on the Parisian terre battue.

Without further ado, here’s the full match of Soderling def. Nadal, 2009 French Open fourth round, 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(2):

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