It is a Sunday, Roland Garros 2010, Court Philippe Chatrier, two of the best tennis players- Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling, facing each other again. It will be like a rematch of the last year when the fast serving Swede, Soderling, produced the biggest upset at the French Open in last five years- defeating Rafael Nadal at his prime.
Nadal has a 37-1 win-loss record at the French Open and his only defeat came from Soderling last year. Apart from the fact that Nadal is yet to drop a single set at this Grand Slam this year, he also boasts of being the first person in the history to win triple clay titles in one season at Rome, Madrid and Monte Carlo. He is in prime form this year and looks unconquerable at clay.
Soderling doesn’t have as great record to boast as Nadal’s, yet he is the only one to beat him at the French open in six years! That alone gives him a lot of confidence apart from the fact that he defeated the defending champion and world number one Roger Federer in the quarter finals.
Nadal is a very energetic and aggressive player. He never lets a single ball go easily. He runs for each ball and makes sure to hit it back and hit it right. His slices, drop shots, serve, backhand and forehand are all hard and swift. He has been using them cleverly with presence of mind and he is the person who knows how the red clay plays at the Roland Garros!
Soderling relies on his fast serve and the power with which he hits every single ball. He is the one who matches the energy level of Nadal at the moment. He serves in excess of 225kmph, a speed which makes it really tough for opponent to return with control. That was what Federer wasn’t able to do in quarters.
Nadal will become the number one player on Sunday whether or not he wins the title, he will also be remembering his defeat last year and will make sure that he reclaims the title which missed from his collection! Nadal said he has no revenge on his mind nor he is concerned about the ranking rather he will focus on winning the title.
A second final in succession and fellow countryman, Bjorn Borg’s comment that Soderling is the favourite will give Soderling huge motivation to win it. He has defeated the world number one, he deafeated the world number one (Nadal) last year, and he has not yet one a grand slam; this all makes a perfect mixture of motivation and confidence.
One is a veteran at winning the title another want the first title, one has a history behind another wants to start one! Let’s see what is in the offing, whether it is Swede or Spaniard who takes the Slam home but its going to be a great match, expect a five setter and a tight one!
PS: I will be tweeting the match live, follow me @ajeetbharti