Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 31 May 2009

Rafael Nadal's unbeaten run ends at Roland Garros

Robin Soderling became the first person to beat 4-time defending French Open champion Rafael Nadal today.

The Swede, seeded 23 in this year's tournament, previously never got this far in a Grand Slam before, played his way and controlled the rallies, pulling off several tremendous winners.

Soderling took the opening set 6-2, but order appeared to be restored at the beginning of the second set when Nadal broke early. Anyone thinking Nadal was going to take the following three sets comfortably was mistaken. Soderling didn't give up in the second set and broke back in the 10th game eventually taking the set to a tie break. The Swede crumbled in the tie break, allowing Nadal to to tie the match up.

Whilst Nadal wasn't at his best, Soderling wasn't to fall apart after the second set. Continuing his aggressive game that had the world number 1 deep behind the baseline and unable to dictate the rallies, there was an ever-increasing sense that something special could be on the cards. An awful service game from Nadal lead to a break and Soderling didn't crack under pressure, and Nadal couldn't crack his serve, holding to love in the 10th game, to take the third set 6-4.

A close fourth set went to a tie break. Robin Soderling was dominant this time, with some winners down the line and Nadal unable to keep up in the rallies. Soderling got to a 6-1 tie break lead and took his 2nd match point to stun the Philippe Chatrier crowd. Soderling was joyous and even threw his winning racket into the crowd.

Robin Soderling goes on to the quarter finals to face the winner of the Nikolay Davydenko-Fernando Verdasco match.

In other tennis news today, Andy Murray beat Marin Cilic in straight sets. The world number 3 will face the flying Fernando Gonzalez in the quarter finals who breezed past Victor Hanescu this morning. The defending women's champion Ana Ivanovic went out in straight sets to Victoria Azarenka, and Dinara Safina thrashed Aravane Rezai 6-1 6-0 after losing the opening game.

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