Robin Soderling Battles Back to French Open Final
It was only a year ago when Soderling shocked the sports world by toppling four-time French Open Champion and No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal in the fourth round at Roland Garros. Nadal had never lost on the red clay in Paris before last year's stunning upset to Soderling.
Soderling amazed the tennis world once again this past Wednesday by defeating No. 1-seeded Roger Feeder in this year's quarterfinal match in four sets.
Soderling has shown the penchant to outhit, fighting power with more power throughout recent years at Roland Garros. He did the same on Friday in his semifinal matchup against Berdych.
Berdych, who was up 2-1 going into the fourth set, could not capitalize in the match when he needed to most. His primary demise was his inconsistent first serve. The weapon that worked so well for him all tournament failed in the semifinals. Berdych connected on just 50 percent of his first serves and Soderling pounced on the Czech's second serve throughout the match with his powerful forehand.
It was the first match that either player played in the 2010 French Open that exceeded 3 hours. While neither seemed to fatigue, Soderling's power and experience took over during vital spots. Soderling has been criticized for not being able to finish out five-set matches, but this proved untrue on Friday as he showed a superb level of fitness.
He ran Berdych around in the fifth set, breaking Berdych to go up 4-3. After holding serve to go up 5-3 in the fifth set, Soderling closed out the match by breaking Berdych with a few outstanding powerful forehands in the final game. Soderling took the decisive set 6-3, to close the contest and advance to the final.
While Soderling's recent success at the French Open has been of epic proportions, it should not come as much of a surprise anymore. With Soderling's defeat of Federer in the quarterfinal, he already cemented his status as a top-tier player on tour.
Soderling has been consistent on tour and has been a staple in the ATP's top 10 since October. He is a very dangerous player with a powerful serve and dominant forehand.
If Rafael Nadal beats Jurgen Melzer in the other semifinal on Friday, the anticipated rematch of Nadal and Soderling on the red clay at Roland Garros will come to fruition.
In last year's French Open men's final, Soderling lost to Roger Federer in straight sets.